Too few training places may prevent carers complying with new standards

Domiciliary care workers in England could be forced to leave their
jobs because a lack of training courses will prevent them meeting
national minimum standards quickly enough.

From this month, all home care workers employed after 1 April 2003
have to register with an accredited training course to take the NVQ
level 2 in care within the first six months of their employment.

But many independent home care providers are finding it difficult
to find places for staff because of a shortage of courses and of
suitably qualified people to assess students. The problem, if
unaddressed, could undermine the government’s plan for more older
people to be cared for in their own homes.

In a letter to social care training body Topss England, the Joint
Advisory Group of Domiciliary Care Associations said it was
becoming increasingly concerned by the situation and called on
Topss to act quickly to fund more courses. Places on college
courses are quickly snapped up because they are cheaper than
in-house programmes run by employers.

Under the national minimum standards for domiciliary care, the NVQ
has to be completed within three years for staff to be able to
continue working.

The advisory group estimates that about 25,000 domiciliary care
workers – about 15 per cent of the 200,000 total – will need to get
on to training courses every year due to staff turnover rates of
between 12 and 15 per cent in local authorities, and 20 and 35 per
cent in the independent sector.

Lesley Bell, former chair of the advisory group, said: “Our members
are saying many of these college courses are full and I don’t think
there are enough programmes for the number of people that need to
be put through the course to meet the minimum standards

A Topss England spokesperson said it was concerned about the lack
of training in domiciliary care and would use the group’s evidence
to press for other sources of funding.

“In the meantime, we would hope that Commission for Social Care
Inspection staff will take into account training availability when
assessing whether domiciliary care services are meeting national
minimum standard requirements,” he added.

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