Transcript: Adult social care recruitment campaign

An interview with Lorraine Gray, Chief Executive of the Scottish Social Services Council.

Podcast Episode: Adult social care recruitment campaign

Category: Adult social care 



What follows is a transcription of the audio recording. Due to differences between spoken and written English, the transcript may contain quirks of grammar and syntax.

MD - Michelle Drumm
LG - Lorraine Gray

There’s More to Care Than Caring is a Scottish government led adult social care recruitment campaign which was launched in January 2020. It aims to encourage people to take up a career in care. Michelle from Iriss had a conversation with Lorraine Gray, Chief Executive of the Scottish Social Services Council about the purpose of the campaign, the importance of adult social care work and how people can get involved in promoting the campaign. The link to the campaign website which has details of how to get involved is available in the show notes.

MD There’s More to Care than Caring is a Scottish government led campaign which aims to recruit people into adult social care roles. Lorraine why an adult social care recruitment campaign?

LG Well you’ll be aware that there is recruitment problems in adult social care, there are a number of vacancies, organisations are finding it harder and harder to recruit and I think that’s because people don’t fully understand what that role is. I think people often think it’s about working with elderly people, it’s mostly about personal care but it’s much wider than that so the campaign as it’s name suggests, There’s More to Care Than Caring, is to make people more aware of the breadth of opportunities and the different types of role within the adult care sector.

MD Okay and it’s trying to get more people involved in taking up these roles but would you agree there’s a recruitment crisis?

LG Well I think there are real challenges about getting people into the sector and because I don’t think people understand what that role is, they may often go into work in early years if they’re interested in this type of career so one of the messages we’re trying to get across is that the most important thing about going into adult social care is about your values and about the type of person you are. So, if you’re somebody that’s respectful, if you are able to make decisions, if you’ve patience, understanding, a good sense of humour: that’s more important than qualifications because you can get the qualifications once you’re on the job. And it’s also about getting people to understand that it is life changing work. You know, if you want a job that, don’t get me wrong is hard and you’ll go home tired at night but where you make a real difference to somebody’s life then this is the job. And we’ve tried to get the message across about the different types of roles so, it could be supporting an adult with learning disabilities, go to their first rock concert or it could be supporting an elderly person to stay in their own home or it could be supporting somebody living with dementia who’s in residential home so, it’s all of these roles, it’s very different from what maybe people thought twenty/thirty years ago. We now recognise how important it is that firstly, people can stay in their own home but they stay engaged, stay active. I think I said to somebody, it’s a job where you might be dealing with personal care in the morning and jiving in the afternoon.

MD Sure. There’s a lot of creativity required …

LG Yes …

MD … for the role …

LG … absolutely.

MD … as well.

LG Because it can be challenging about how you interact with people. It’s also about how you support the wider family. If you think about if your mum was in a care home, when you go to see her you want her hair to be brushed or maybe to have a bit of lipstick on, to look like she’s engaged with people. That all requires the skills and the time and the dedication of that workforce that’s so important to everybody involved that people retain their dignity so, it’s those types of messages that we want to get across: there’s more to care than caring, it’s much wider than that. It’s about how you make sure that people have the highest quality of life they can and how this workforce supports that to happen.

MD It was recently announced UK immigration policy will impact hard on adult social care, which categorises it as a low skilled profession. Adult social care workers are highly skilled, surely?

LG It makes me so angry that this work force is described as low skilled, it’s the opposite and it shows such a lack of understanding of what they do. When you think about the skills that you need to work in adult social care, so those skills could be about how do you support somebody who’s living with dementia, how do you support them in such a way that it doesn’t cause the person distress, and one of the campaign pictures is about helping this man remember the name of his son. That’s a skilled role to do if you’re supporting somebody with learning disabilities, they may have other health needs that you need to deal with but it’s also just about how hard this work is, how much of it takes of the person to support people in this role. So, to call it low skilled is insulting and I think if you ask anybody who’s had any contact, whether it be a family member, whether it’s yourself that’s had contact with social services and social care, they would totally disagree that it’s a low skilled job: it’s a high skilled job. I think part of the argument is, it’s a female job.

MD Well historically it was women’s work …

LG Yes.

MD … wasn’t it? The caring role.

LG Yeah.

MD And I think that’s been perpetuated a wee bit and it still stands …

LG Yeah.

MD … in the 21st century so, it’s about changing that.

LG Yes and it’s about … so, the campaign is aimed at sort of 22 to 45 year olds but men and women. It’s about getting men into the sector as well. I think we do need a better balance and it is about the values that you bring to the job so, it’s not about the skills. So, often if people are looking for a change in career, you know, this is something worth considering so, we really would like people to promote it, there’s a website that people can go to, on the SSSC website there’s information about the different careers.

MD Great thanks and who’s been involved then, with the campaign?

LG So, it’s actually a Scottish government campaign but it was the Scottish Government Marketing Strategy and Insight Office along with the office of the Chief Social Work Advisor so, we worked with them and a range of partners in social care and also the adverts were tested out with people in social care to say, “will this attract people?” So, the key stakeholders in social care were involved in it as well and the SSSC have done quite a bit of work on it. So, it links in with some of our key themes which is about getting people to think about a career in social services. So, we have career ambassadors that go to various job fayres and that type of thing and they are people who work in the sector who are often the best people to speak about what it means to work there.

MD Yeah, no, absolutely. So, what does success look like?

LG What would success look like? Well I think generally that people begin to have a different view of what it means to work in care. That people see it as a career, there are real opportunities, you start as a care assistant, you become a team leader, you can go on to be a manager, if you choose to, you can then do social work, all of that experience will count towards doing a social work degree. So, there is opportunities, there is such a wide range of jobs and it is a job that you will get training once you’re in it, so you will work towards qualifications. I’m sure you’re aware, to be registered with the SSSC, you need to have the relevant qualification so, if you have the right values, then this is the job for you, and then you will get training on the job and there’s lots of opportunities.

MD How can people promote the campaign?

LG So, we really want people to spread the word, the campaign website is and it has a whole section of resources you can download, there’s a tool kit, there’s pictures from the campaign. So, if you can share that within your organisation, but it is about people who work in social care, promoting it to their friends and family: they’re the best advert for it, people who are already doing the work and the other thing is always challenging that view that this is low skilled work, we have to all … all of us working in this area need to keep reminding people that this is skilled work, it’s important work, it’s people looking after our loved ones, it’s people looking after some of the most vulnerable people in society and I just think that much should be one of the most valued jobs.

MD Uh huh. Lorraine, thank you so much for speaking to me about this recruitment campaign and we’re all wishing it the very best success.

LG Thank you very much.

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