Social care: 'Vital' to recruit more young care workers

Alaw Paul Image copyright Mike Dean/Eye Imagery
Image caption Alaw Paul (left) is a care worker and says she loves being able to make a difference

There is a warning that more young people need to start working as carers to make sure Wales can look after its aging population.

The availability of more government-funded childcare is also expected to increase demand for nursery and creche staff.

Around a third of the care workforce are over 50 and there is concern many crucial staff are nearing retirement.

An estimated 20,000 more carers will be needed by 2030 to cope with demand.

A recruitment campaign, We Care Wales, is being launched to attract more young people into the care industry, which employs around 113,000 people.

It comes after nurseries said they were having difficulty recruiting staff, particularly the most qualified and experienced.

"We know from our own research that young people often see working in care as hard work," said Sue Evans, chief executive of Social Care Wales.

"However, as more of them are living at home with their parents for longer, driving less and looking for jobs with a purpose, a local job that can make a difference could be perfect for them."

'It fills me with joy'

Image caption Nursery worker Matt Milum says his job can be rewarding

Matt Milum, a team leader at Abacus Day Nursery in Uplands, Swansea, regularly sees parents who tell him their children are still doing things he taught them.

"It does fill me with joy that they still think of me in a positive manner," he said.

Mr Milum said there needs to be more awareness in young people of qualifications, courses and pathways into caring, and how rewarding the job is.

He added: "A workshop I did was free and took just one hour of my time.

"There needs to be more of that, to test the waters. It would be invaluable to the next generation."

'They're able to open up to me'

Image copyright Mike Dean/Eye Imagery
Image caption Ms Paul says she gets a lot of job satisfaction

Alaw Paul, 22, from Porthmadog, Gwynedd, works as a youth support worker in her local community and is involved in developing projects aimed at building confidence and skills.

"Despite only being a few years older than some of the people I work with, I feel they're able to open up to me about their problems more than they would to an older person," she said.

"The best thing about my job is that I'm able to see the difference I'm making to people, and where they're from for myself which is the best form of job satisfaction."

Age breakdown of social care workers

% of workforce in Wales

NB: Does not include early years and childcare workforce
Source: Social Care Wales

Meanwhile, the most recent Social Care Wales workforce survey of social workers found the average age on the register was 46, with 31% of male social workers aged 55 or over and 20% of female social workers.

A week of activities, including young people sharing their experiences of social care, early years and childcare, will take place all week.

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