A care organisation aims to create about 30 new jobs over the next year following the launch of an innovative new training programme.
The project called Step into Care will specifically target unemployed young people, offering them the chance to find a job in the social care sector.
It is being pioneered by the Pendine Park care organisation in Wrexham working in partnership with the Welsh Government’s Communities for Work Programme. The project is funded by Welsh Government and the European Social Fund.
Participants will be registered on a four week programme which will encompass City & Guilds and ILM modules, skills development and practical work experience in a care home.
Everyone who completes the course is guaranteed an interview at the end of it, and the possibility of a job at Pendine Park.
Between 15 and 20 work places will be available on each Step into Care course and it is hoped at least half of those on each course will be recruited into a paid job at the end of it.
Course participants will not be paid for the duration of the course but can still claim any benefits they are currently entitled to and at the end of the course they are guaranteed a job interview with Pendine Park.
“It is an excellent opportunity and one which we are very proud to be offering the young people of Wrexham and surrounding areas,” said Pendine Park proprietor Mario Kreft MBE.
“Similar programmes we have run in the past have resulted in very positive results, with about 40 per cent of those who took part eventually finding a permanent position within our workforce.
“Via Step into Care we will be looking to employ about 30 new recruits over 2017 in a mix of full and part time roles, predominately in care and potential in other departments.”
The aim of the new Step into Care courses is to open up potential career opportunities for young people aged 16-24 who are currently not in education, employment or training (NEET).
Kathryn Lewis, Communities for Work youth mentor based at Caia Park, Wrexham, works with jobless young adults. Part of her role is advising them on different routes towards securing full time employment.
She said: “Step into Care is an extremely valuable way forward for anyone with a yearning to work in social care but who doesn’t yet have the correct qualifications or doesn’t know how to go about it.
“This scheme could be the first step for them on the road to a very rewarding future career. We are delighted to be working with the excellent team at Pendine Park in helping to roll it out.”
The Step into Care programme will be held at Pendine Park’s Hillbury site, Wrexham, the base for Pendine Park’s acclaimed teaching care centre, the Pendine Academy of Social Care.
Pendine Academy manager Ann Farr said the Step into Care scheme is exciting because of its benefits to the wider social care community as well as to the trainees.
She explained: “There’s a growing demand for new recruits into social care nationwide. We especially need more young people to fill the gaps left by those professionals who are getting towards retirement age. This scheme is designed to help address that demand.
“What is particularly good about it is that it catches some potentially excellent new recruits who for one reason or another may have previously slipped through the net; young people who may have toyed with the idea of a career in social care but for various reasons not fulfilled that ambition.
“We offer them a genuine chance to find out whether social care is really for them and if it is, then they can gain from the mentorship of our highly experienced professionals, and potentially go on to gain essential qualifications and forge out lasting careers.”
Those who secure jobs at the end of the course will have the opportunity to further their training through ‘Step Up’ schemes which offer candidates a way of gaining further recognised qualifications.
Mario added: “Apprenticeship Diplomas offers the opportunity to learn and earn.
“We carefully structure apprenticeships to develop an individual’s career progression. A trainee with us can go as far as they want in the industry, from Care Practitioner to management level and all the steps along the way.
“There are opportunities to develop specific clinical skills to be a Clinical Care Practitioner or towards a nursing qualification.”
Pendine Park apprentice Ioan Wright, 22, of Rhos, recommended anyone keen to work in the social care field to consider the new scheme.
He said: “It offers an unrivalled first step into a really rewarding career. I’m so lucky I got the chance to enrol on a past Pendine Park training scheme three years ago after being out of work for 18 months. I was in a Catch 22 situation. I knew I wanted to be a professional carer but I had no experience so couldn’t find a job. Eventually I was pointed in the direction of the ongoing work placement schemes here at Pendine Park and I’ve never looked back.
“The training is the best there is and I feel really privileged to be in a position where I can care for elderly people, many of whom have such fascinating life stories to tell.
“My learning here is ongoing, too. Since being recruited I’ve continued to study for my Diploma qualifications and am currently working towards Level 3. I’m so grateful for the chance Pendine Park has given me.”
Ann said: “Ioan is a shining example of someone who knew what his vocation was but couldn’t find a way to achieve it until he came to us. We are proud to have helped him achieve his ambition and to continue to help him further his skills and become ever more proficient.
“Our goal with Step into Care is to help yet more young people follow in Ioan’s footsteps.”
Pendine Park will run four Step into Care programmes during 2017, with the first starting in March.
Over each week of the month long programme participants spend two and a half days learning at the Pendine Academy and two and a half days work experience in a care home supervised by professional mentors.
They work with people who have a variety of conditions including dementia and mobility issues. The programme also includes skills that benefit trainees’ everyday life such as strengthening communication skills, basic first aid, health and safety, good hygiene regimes and using recreational activities to enrich day to day life.
Pendine Park runs state of the art care homes in Wrexham and Caernarfon, and also provides an independent living service offering private care for people in their own homes.
The organisation’s commitment to in-house training and passion for staff development was recognised several years ago when it achieved a coveted Investors in People Gold award.
The next Step in Care course runs from March 6-31, 2017.
For further details about Step into Care work placements at Pendine Park contact Karen Harris on 01978 315207.