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Building a career in care

Bupa UK’s people director JULIE STEPHENS describes how participation in the Movement to Work scheme has created a pipeline into a pool of young talent.

It’s no secret that the care sector is facing recruitment difficulties. Figures from the Office of National Statistics show that more than 15% of externally advertised job vacancies were in the health and social care sectors between January-March 2018, that’s over 120,000 roles. On top of this, according to a survey from Skills for Care, there are a staggering 90,000 vacancies for social care jobs in England on any given day.

However, couple this with the fact that there are currently around 790,000 young people in the UK who are not in education, employment or training (NEET), and it can be seen that there’s a real opportunity for the care sector. With the right approach we can bridge the skills gap and upskill young people to fill these roles.


Unlocking untapped resource

In response, Bupa has teamed up with Movement to Work, a voluntary coalition of UK employers that was created to inspire young people to change their lives through a positive encounter with the world of work.

Bupa has more than 130 care homes and good experience in helping colleague development – regardless of their level, so we were in a good position to make a difference. Now working with Movement to Work we deliver quality work placement opportunities designed to break the “no experience, no job” cycle and thus removing a key barrier to employment.

Since joining the movement, Bupa has offered work placements to over 400 young people, with great results. Nearly half of those who completed the programme in 2017 were able to take up full time employment in one of our care homes and, in total, we’ve seen an amazing 83% of candidates find jobs or return to education and training.


The importance of training

We believe that young people who have been through pre-employment training are more likely to achieve progression once in employment, giving back to businesses that invested in their development.

As such, young people are able to apply for a five-week work experience placement which will give them key employability skills in customer service, personal and social skills and teamwork through a period of classroom-based training. This is followed by hands-on experience of working in a Bupa care home. Candidates will also have support with work preparation including CV writing and interview skills. After completing the placement, candidates have the opportunity to apply for a permanent job.

We’ve seen countless success stories as a result of Movement to Work, including Jonathan Cleaver who’s spoken openly about his experience. As a recent uncle, he was keen to set a good example for his niece, and this encouraged him to get involved with Movement to Work. In 2016 he undertook training followed by a month-long placement at The Priory Care Home near Birmingham.

He excelled in the role and as of 2017, Jonathan has taken on a role as a kitchen assistant at Bupa Pebble Mill, a new care home in Birmingham which opened earlier this year. Jonathan was one of the first colleagues to start and has been able to see the home take shape over the past few months. According to Jonathan, a career in care “really makes you feel like you’ve got a purpose, and you leave at the end of the day knowing that you’ve made a difference. It’s also great to spend time with the residents, as it’s their feedback that let us know we’re doing the job right.”

More than this, he’s keen to build his job into a career and is currently planning to return to college to undertake a chef’s course.  Balancing this alongside his work with Bupa, he’ll be learning practical and academic skills, whilst also being in an environment where he can put them into practice, with a small and supportive team.

Jonathan’s story is just one of the hundreds I’ve heard, but is testament to value of the Movement to Work programme.


Building a future for everyone

As employers, giving the opportunity to committed, young talent and enabling them to learn new skills can make a real impact. Bupa have been able to bring in some transformative new talent and help maintain high level of care for our residents. The programme has provided us with a sustainable talent pipeline whilst also improving the company’s workforce diversity.

By offering the access to the right training and work experience, we can not only harness the potential of these young people but we can also build a more inclusive and diverse care sector in which everyone can succeed.

I’d encourage more employers in the sector to tap into this pipeline of talent. Movement to Work can offer real benefits to your business, while also offering opportunities to young people from all walks of life.

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