New Wiltshire Care Academy partnership aims to plug county skills gap

By Anita Jaynes on September 09, 2018

Leading independent recruiter 24-7 Staffing and Wiltshire College & University Centre have teamed up to help improve the skills and numbers of carers in the county.

Chippenham-based 24-7 Staffing and the College are jointly launching a Care Academy, to provide training for carers who are new to the sector or who want additional qualifications.

All training will be run by the College, initially through the Chippenham and Salisbury campuses, with scope to provide training at its Lackham and Trowbridge sites. Skilled academy graduates will have greater opportunities to find work, including filling vacancies at the many care home clients of 24-7 Staffing.

Wiltshire has the third largest older population, with 100,000 of its 475,000 residents aged over 65 – a figure projected to rise by around 25% in the next five years.

The academy will provide bespoke training, on a rolling programme and not be tied to academic terms. Training can be delivered in college, remotely or even at places of work.

“We have a very strong care division at 24-7 Staffing and supply candidates to dozens of care homes in and around the county,” said 24-7 Staffing Director Melody Thompson. “There are many opportunities available, far more than we are able to fill due to a shortage of qualified staff.

“We have strict qualification criteria for the staff we place with our clients so it makes sense to refer people needing care qualifications – whether they are new to the sector or whether they want extra training – to Wiltshire College & University Centre.

“Under the new Care Academy, training can be bespoke, so it meets the needs of the individuals and also of the care homes.”

Denise Lloyd, Wiltshire College & University Centre’s Assistant Principal of Curriculum and Campus, said the College had an excellent track record for providing high quality health and social care courses, but the new Care Academy would be flexible and responsive to the specific needs of those seeking employment or in need of upskilling in the care sector.

“We work closely with Wiltshire Council, looking at the need for skills and future skills planning in the county,” she said. “This approach focuses much more on the job at the end than on the qualification and will be a way not just of bringing people into the care sector but, by upskilling those already working in care, it will help retain them.

“The Care Academy will have a roll on, roll off approach, and be really bespoke. If people come into 24-7 Staffing with no care qualifications at all, we can train them up, and if they need something tailored for them, we can do that too.”

Melody added: “We have a good working relationship with Wiltshire College & University Centre and this seems the best solution; a Care Academy to meet the training needs of local candidates, coupled with our expertise to place them into the work environment with our clients.”

For more information about the Care Academy email robyn.beck@wiltshire.ac.uk or call 01985 803208. For information on care vacancies across Wiltshire contact healthcare@24-7staffing.co.uk or visit www.24-7staffing.co.uk

Pictured above: Melody Thompson, Carl Stennning and Laura Wilson of 24-7 Staffing, with Stephanie Arthur and Denise Lloyd of Wiltshire College & University Centre