Anne Kasey, Home Manager and Clinical Lead for maritime charity, the Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society, discusses the importance of investing in training in the social care sector and how it benefits residents…
It doesn’t matter which sector one operates in – having the right staff for the job is paramount to the success of any business. In the social care industry, this is more important than anywhere as staff are fundamental to the health and wellbeing of residents and have a duty of care to fulfil.
The social care sector is currently facing difficulties recruiting and retaining qualified staff – in fact 15% of vacancies across the entire UK economy are in the health and social work sectors according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). To combat this, up-skilling employees is part of a solution that contributes to the smooth running of a care home. Here at the Royal Alfred we have an in -house trainer, allowing our staff to have consistent one-on-one training on site. This helps to ensure all staff are working to the same standard and addresses any gaps in knowledge, it also demonstrates to employees that they are part of a supportive workplace.
Having staff that are equipped with the necessary qualifications, skills and training not only increases job efficiency, but can drastically improve morale and enables staff members to feel empowered and valued in their roles. All of this helps to achieve a better experience for residents as well as complying with Care Quality Commission standards.
As a charity serving former seafarers, we understand our residents’ individual needs and recognise the people who call Royal Alfred home are deserving of the best standard of care. Earlier this year we commenced specialist training with our pioneering Maritime Acquaint Training programme to provide staff with a knowledge of the maritime industry. Funded by a close supporter of the Society, our staff took part in a training day hosted on a P&O cross channel ferry from Dover to Calais.
This now annual programme was created by our CEO, Commander Brian Boxall-Hunt, to help staff better understand residents’ physical and psychological needs and the care required for each individual. This training session allowed our staff to fully immerse themselves in how life would have been like at sea, and the understanding of how large vessels operate at sea, often in treacherous weather conditions and across long journeys. This is key for us to help employees understand our residents’ past experiences and is what makes our residents’ stay truly unique.
Benefits of such in-depth training within the care sector are not just experienced by residents. At Royal Alfred, we provide not just a job, but a career. We think training improves staff morale, which is key to the smooth running of any care home and boosts staff retention. Recently we commended five members of staff with long service awards for dedicating ten years of their working life to the home to make them feel valued and supported in their roles – just one example of a success story at Royal Alfred. We have many long-serving staff and I myself having been with Royal Alfred for over 30 years and Margaret Brazier (Executive Assistant to CEO Brian for over 50 years). It shows that people really do invest their careers with us due to good training, career progression and opportunity.
For the Royal Alfred, training creates better experiences for our residents that depend on the expertise of staff for their day-to-day care, while staff develop their careers at the same time. At a time when social care recruitment is proving difficult, the time has come to consider training to help plug the gap and we urge any care home to consider investment now for sustained success.