Call to overhaul social care training in Scotland

A shake-up of social care training is needed in Scotland to accommodate new ways of working, according to the Scottish Social Services Council.

A shake-up of social care training is needed in Scotland to accommodate new ways of working, according to the Scottish Social Services Council.

Personalisation in particular is starting to have an impact on the skills requirements for the workforce, the regulator’s 2010-11 sector skills assessment found.

It was unclear how many personal assistants were working in Scotland, the report said. However, according to a skills audit published by the Scottish government in 2010, less than half of the PAs employed to deliver self-directed support received training.

The number of people receiving direct payments increased from 207 in 2001 to more than 3,600 in March 2010.

Social care employers also reported concerns about the impact of the economic downturn on staff training.

The SSSC said there was some evidence that the decision by Scottish ministers to introduce required registration for some groups of social care workers had resulted in parts of the workforce becoming increasingly qualified.

But the report said: “Many employers in the sector are noting the impact of the current economic climate as a key barrier hindering workforce development.

“The cost of training may not be a key driver of skills demand but it plays a vital role in determining the capacity of services to upskill the workforce.”

Anna Fowlie, chief executive of the SSSC, added: “The social services workforce will look very different in the coming years as social services develop to recognise changing demographics, changing public expectations and a very different financial climate.

“Less money means tough decisions, but the overwhelming need to change and challenge, to do things differently, to encourage creativity and stimulate productivity means that having the right people with the right skills in place to do the job is a must.”

The report noted that the rise of new models of working, such as co-production, in which professionals work to with individuals or communities over a long period to build confidence and skills, would have to be reflected in training.

It also highlighted the findings of a series of recent inspection reports, which identified the need for more training on sensory awareness and communication for frontline workers.

The regulator has suggested that social care employers consider sharing training across the public, private and voluntary sectors.

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