Workforce Programme - February 2019

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Update from Greg Moores, Programme Director

The Workforce programme team have been working on a wide range of projects with partners over recent months, here’s a taster…

Apprenticeship levy

In response to an agreement reached by NHS and local government providers to share the apprenticeship levy with the voluntary and independent sector, an event was held involving 40 businesses to hear more about the scheme. Since the event, a number of applications have been received from providers and these will be considered by the Workforce Programme Board in order to support the apprenticeship agenda and increase the number of apprentices across the system.

Rotational apprenticeships

The rotational apprenticeship scheme has been developed to help increase the supply of our future workforce, improve the quality of care and service provision for service users, and embed integrated working and joined up service provision in our future workforce. Partners in this scheme include acute, community, hospice, care homes, voluntary and independent and primary care providers from across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent. The first programme focusses on the End of Life pathway and has been developed with partners providing care and treatment within this pathway. The role is currently out to advert with over 20 applications received so far. Ten apprentices will be recruited on level two and three programmes and apprentices will be supported through a robust training programme, rotating between providers over a two-year period. Further programmes in development include therapy, mental health, social work and frailty.


We have recently appointed a Workforce Engagement Lead who will work as part of our team in delivering the involvement priorities and objectives to support other Together We’re Better programmes. They will work with key stakeholders and programme leads to formulate engagement plans across the programmes. Further updates in this area of the workforce programme will follow over the coming months.

Workforce planning and intelligence  

The team continue to support the clinical programmes with workforce planning requirements, including Mental Health, Maternity, Children and Young People, Urgent and Emergency Care and Enhanced Primary and Community Care. The system-wide workforce database is currently in development with testing taking place over the coming weeks. This database will help support understanding of the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent health and social care workforce as a whole system and support integrated workforce planning across the programmes.

Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent providers collaborate for National Adult Social Care Recruitment Campaign event

20190211 141252 25 NEWWith 110,000 health and social care vacancies at any one time across England, it’s crucial that organisations are working together across the local system. Within Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, there are approximately 1,700 vacancies (based on recent figures from Skills for Care National Minimum Dataset for Adult Social Care).

More than 30 providers from across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent took part in a Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) National Adult Social Care Recruitment Campaign Workshop on 11 February. The providers were keen to share how best to combat common recruitment and retention issues at the event, led by Shirley Way from Skills for Care.

This was the first event of its kind developed through collaboration between Skills for Care and the Workforce programme, stemming from the system-wide Domiciliary Care Workforce review we’ve undertaken.

Attendees discussed five main topics taken from the DHSC National Recruitment Campaign Toolkit: ‘Improving the Selection Process’, ‘Local PR’, ‘Improving Employee Referrals’, ‘Events’ and use of ‘Social Media and Websites’. Discussions around social media generated ideas such as creating a SnapChat story for ‘A day in the life of a carer’ and utilising company websites more by advertising a live jobs feed and having an ‘Our stories’ section with real life experiences from current employees.

Concerning local PR, groups discussed how to have a more effective presence in the right areas. Suggestions included having representatives attend Food Banks to engage with the local public who may be interested in a career in care. Open days were also mentioned in which local radio stations and newspapers could be invited to report on vacancies and what it’s like to work with the company.

Providers also received information regarding the Health and Social Care Graduate Pathway, developed by the Workforce programme with partners, which aims to encourage school leavers into a health or social care profession, creating a career ‘ladder of opportunity’ from apprenticeship to registered practitioner to ultimately improve future workforce supply. They expressed an interest in getting involved and felt this was an opportunity to think differently in the way we look at the future workforce pipeline. Providers were encouraged to take away their own personal action plan from the day, setting goals to tackle recruitment and retention issues shared in the session and were directed to how outcomes were related to CQC Key Lines of Enquiries evidence. A colleague from Heritage Care commented how useful the workshop had been and that their “action plan is full”!

Included in the workshop was an opportunity to hear about local offers to employers with regards to recruitment and retention, such as careers and enterprise (looking at attracting the workforce of the future), National Careers Service (retention of current workforce) and both local government organisations (Adult & Community Learning and Care Market Development Team). Representatives from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) also provided an overview of the vacancy portal being used by the national campaign and an overview of the Universal Credits system.

At the end of the workshop, providers were asked to pledge one area from their action plan they would take forward. Following the presentations attendees pledged to ‘work more closely with partner organisations, such as the National Careers Service and DWP’ on existing schemes and better utilisation of help already available.

The afternoon was extremely productive, with networking forming new partnerships to collaborate and ideas to take forward together, using helpful resources such as the Skills for Care value-based recruitment and retention toolkit for providers to utilise in their own area and new initiatives to investigate from the workshop discussions.

Afternoons such as these offer adult social care providers the opportunity to meet with other professionals such as themselves that share the same challenges faced across the sector. By taking just a few hours away from the working day a real difference was made in creating solutions to address the workforce challenges and will in turn have a positive impact on care our patients and service users receive.

Click on the link below to watch an introduction to the Workforce programme: