An employment referral app is helping a number of care providers across County Durham to recruit and retain high quality care staff.
Durham County Council is supporting a group of providers to pilot the technology, with more than 100 care staff having already been recruited by one organisation alone.
Care Friends allows staff already employed in the sector to share job opportunities with their friends and contacts through the easy-to-use app on their phone.
In order to support recruitment in a competitive jobs market, the council has funded licence and set up costs for providers to pilot the app.
This is helping to reduce recruitment costs for social care providers and enabling them to instead fund a reward scheme for staff who share available opportunities through Care Friends.
Cllr Chris Hood, cabinet member for adult and health services, said: “We understand the challenges faced by care providers in the current climate and are pleased to hear that the referral method is proving to be effective at generating quality applicants.
“As the app is focused purely on the care sector, it is also helping to improve job retention, which will bring significant benefits to the sector.
“Our Care Academy, which supports the development of a skilled social care workforce in the county, offers help to providers and continues to grow. We would encourage providers to take advantage of the range of opportunities to assist in the recruitment and training of care staff.”
Embracing Care in Sacriston has recruited more than 100 care staff since it started using the app.
Sophie Gallagher, HR officer at Embracing Care, said: “Generally, we find that the quality of staff that we are recruiting through Care Friends is more suited to care roles than they would be through a job site.
“The people that apply tend to have been told about the job through a friend that already works in care so they know more about the work and what to expect.
“We find this form of recommendation works so much better. The app also really helps with retention, so we have more starters than leavers, with it now embedded in our culture and induction process.”
The organisation has found on average one successful applicant for every five applications via the app, compared to around one successful recruit from 80 applications using broader recruitment sites.