HCPA & Herts LEP Explore Adult Social Care Apprenticeships to Boost Recruitment in the sector


During January’s Good Care Month, over 50 Hertfordshire employers explored apprenticeships as a solution to growing recruitment challenges within the adult social care sector at a workshop hosted by us and Hertfordshire LEP.


By 2036, over 20% of Hertfordshire residents are expected to be aged 65 or over. The growth in the elderly population, combined with increasingly complex care needs, calls for an urgent upturn in the training and recruitment of staff in the adult social care and nursing sectors.


We estimate a need to recruit 4,000 additional paid carers per year within the county alone. Therein lies the challenge, with Hertfordshire’s low unemployment rate creating barriers for employers looking to recruit the best staff for their business.


To help meet recruitment needs, we hosted the ‘Creative Care Career Pathways’ event along with the Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP); a workshop delivering essential information on how apprenticeships can be used to attract and retain a skilled and motivated workforce. As part of our Good Care Month campaign, in partnership with Hertfordshire County Council, the workshop has resulted in over 50% of delegates expressing a desire to hire an apprentice or start an apprenticeship programme to boost their business.  


Our members who attended heard from a range of speakers including Gareth Dace, Senior Enterprise Coordinator at Hertfordshire LEP, who contextualised Hertfordshire’s labour market against the national picture. This was followed by Iain MacBeath, Director of Adult Social Care at Hertfordshire County Council, who set out the key challenges and opportunities facing the county’s care sector.  


When talking about the county’s care landscape, Iain had this to say “With a growing ageing population and a surplus of Hertfordshire residents commuting out of the county than the number commuting in, the care industry must find novel ways to ease the recruitment challenge it currently faces. Apprenticeships offer a valuable solution, providing progression opportunities and financial stability to those looking for work, a career change or to upskill while on the job, and flexibility for employers seeking the talent needed to help their business grow.”


Speakers from training organisations and the University of Hertfordshire explained how the apprenticeship pathway, from intermediate to degree level, can help employers make a career in care more attractive by offering clearly defined career progression and a chance to earn while learning on the job.


Delegates also heard from Clare Ding, Apprenticeship Support Coordinator at Quantum Care, and Annie Fitzgerald, Founder of Care 4 Freedom, on the success of their well-established apprenticeship programmes and the associated advantages, which include the ability to upskill new and existing staff, fast-track their progression and tailor training to the specific needs of the organisation; ultimately improving employee retention.


Apprentices from their programmes, Keith Arnold from Quantum Care and Lauren Tiller who is the Deputy Manager at Care 4 Freedom, explained why they pursued an apprenticeship over alternative routes, citing the opportunity to gain qualifications without student debt, taking on real responsibility, facilitating a career change, and securing permanent employment within the organisation.  


Sharon Davies, our Chief Executive Officer, introduced the newly launched  Hertfordshire Care Academy; an online portal and training passport that aims to ensure Hertfordshire’s care practitioner workforce is trained to a professional, best practice standard across the board. By enrolling all staff at all levels including apprentices in the academy, employers can help them evidence the qualifications they have earned and unlock a range of tiered benefits.


Sharon said “The delivery of good care is dependent on a comprehensive programme of training. Our Care Academy enables staff to record their professional and personal development, and employers to better take stock of the qualifications of their workforce, helping identify areas for improvement and ultimately set the standard for professionalism. We encourage all those who work in the care sector at all levels to join the Academy and help raise the bar for care delivery in Hertfordshire. You can find out more by visiting the Care Academy website at https://www.hertscareacademy.com/


Hertfordshire LEP will also soon be launching a Hertfordshire Skills & Apprenticeship Information Portal to help demystify the process of hiring an apprentice for employers and help educate young people, schools and parents on the wide range of career pathways available. The portal is expected to be launched in June 2019.


Norman Jennings, Operations Director at Hertfordshire LEP, said: “Our new Skills & Apprenticeship Portal will be a one-stop resource for employers and learners looking to reap the rewards that apprenticeships offer, helping make the recruitment process as seamless and straightforward as possible. Apprenticeships have been gaining popularity in recent years and we hope to support this growth trajectory by expanding the range of opportunities available across the county’s key growth sectors.”


As a result of the workshop, 27 Hertfordshire employers are now considering hiring an apprentice within their business, with support from us.

If you are thinking about offering your staff apprenticeships or employing apprentices contact Herts Good Care Recruitment on 01707536020.