North Yorkshire launches new recruitment campaign for care workers amid predictions of soaring demand for services

Testimonies from frontline care workers are being used to tackle staff shortages in North Yorkshire amid warnings over the growing demands which the sector will be placed under in the coming years.

A major campaign was launched yesterday to sign up hundreds of new recruits to the care profession in the county amid a critical lack of workers blighting the sector nationally.

The Make Care Matter recruitment drive is being overseen by North Yorkshire County Council working alongside the independent care businesses and charities that provide the bedrock to the sector.

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The experiences of frontline workers are being shared in television adverts, which were broadcast for the first time yesterday.

Flavia Nyambira is among the frontline workers who feature in the new Make Care Matter recruitment campaign. She has worked for the past four years helping people who have come out of hospital or experienced a physical or mental difficulty. (Photo: North Yorkshire County Council)

However, the council’s corporate director for health and adult services, Richard Webb, stressed yesterday that there will be an even greater need for care services in the future.

There is already a large and growing elderly population in North Yorkshire, with 152,675 older people aged 65 years or over.

That figure is equivalent to one-in-four of the total population and it is expected to increase significantly in the next 20 years.

Mr Webb said: “The care sector is a growing sector, our demographics are changing and we will all need more care and support in the future.

“This is a growing part of our economy, and it is time that we recognised that.”

The recruitment crisis in the care sector has seen its workforce contract by three per cent during the past year.

North Yorkshire County Council currently has 71 full-time frontline care worker vacancies and 27 full-time social work and occupational therapy vacancies.

There are, however, hundreds more job vacancies across the independent sector with 500 care providers operating in North Yorkshire, the vast majority of which are small and medium-sized enterprises.

There has been a 70 per cent fall in applications for roles overseen by the county council, caused in part by the mandatory requirement for all care workers to be vaccinated.

There has also been a general shift away from the demanding profession as workers seek higher paid work to counter the cost of living crisis.

Someone embarking on a career in caring can expect to earn the National Minimum Wage, which currently stands at £8.91 for anyone aged 23 and over.

The county council has joined forces with the NHS to make a one-off £300 pay bonus to North Yorkshire’s 16,000 frontline care workers, which is being paid between now and March.

The recruitment campaign has been backed by the region's provider organisation, The Independent Care Group (ICG).

The ICG’s chairman, Mike Padgham said: "The shortage of staff in the social care sector is becoming critical and we are pleased to work with the county council and support its campaign to bring more people into this very rewarding, vital service.

"We are also delighted to work with the county council in putting forward the bonus initiative that each carer is to receive this year.

"The name of the campaign says it all, as care does matter, very, very much.

“We have to work together to bring more people into this wonderful sector and to persuade the Government that it needs to support the sector more.”

Flavia Nyambira is among the frontline workers who feature in the new recruitment campaign.

She has worked for the past four years helping people who have come out of hospital or experienced a physical or mental difficulty.

She came into the care profession after 11 years working in the British Army as a postal and courier service operator in Germany.

When Ms Nyambira was posted back to Catterick Garrison with her husband, who is a soldier, and their three children, she started to look for work that she could fit around her family.

She said: “The rewards of being in the care profession are huge. I support people with care and encouragement and the right equipment to regain confidence to do things for themselves again.

“It’s so great to see the look of happiness on their faces when they can get back their independence.

“Everybody we care for has a story to tell and it’s good to be a listening ear when they are going through a difficult situation.”

More details on the Make Care Matter recruitment campaign are available at www.makecarematter.co.uk online.