Workforce Forum - looking to the future

More than 100 people registered to take part in the event at Unipart Conference Centre, Oxford which was over booked

The forum was an opportunity for workforce specialists including social care employers and job centre staff to discuss ways of recruiting the 7,500 care staff to meet an expected shortfall in Oxfordshire.

The event was held in response to increasing demands on Oxfordshire’s social care workforce which includes home care workers, care home workers and nurses, social workers, as well as informal carers, personal assistants, community groups, and volunteers. These groups are all critical to meeting the needs of Oxfordshire’s most vulnerable people.

It was organised by Oxfordshire County Council in partnership with the Oxfordshire Association of Care Providers and sector skills council Skills for Care with the aim of bringing together specialists in social and health care to share experience and ideas.

Speakers included Larry Gardiner - somebody who uses care and support services. Larry spoke about the importance of "recruiting people who care from their hearts" and about employers caring for their care workers. "People can only care for others if you care for them" he said..

Professional carer Merryl Rautenbach  explained why she loved her work ( "you feel appreciated") and how well she was supported by her employer

Neil Eastwood from recruitment specialists Sticky People gave   presentations on "creative attraction" and "what makes people want to stay". 

Rachel Lawrence Workforce Lead for Oxfordshire County Council said:  ”We had an excellent response from those who attended and feedback was extremely positive

“The event was not intended to result in any decisions but there was a consensus among participants that it was important to look further into values-based recruitment (a technique which looks at people’s values, behaviours and attitudes to determine whether they are a "good fit" for the organisation and suitable to work with the most vulnerable people in society) , focus more strongly on what can be done to  retain staff and to listen more to carers and service users who  see things differently from managers.

“Some participants were surprised to hear that retention is perhaps the most effective form of recruitment. Oxfordshire County Council said if social care providers could retain just two people each year, they could save enough to appoint another part time worker for 6 months.

Eddy McDowall, Chief Executive of Oxfordshire Association of Care Providers added: “Providers found the event extremely useful and we've already started planning the next one which will focus on what stakeholders can do to increase capability in the adult social care workforce in response to the increasingly complex needs of people who need care and support.”