Care provider reports ‘major surge’ in job applications

Colin Ramwell

Chesterfield-based care provider, Heathcotes Group, says it has experienced a “major surge” in demand for jobs in the sector following a record month of applications for support worker positions nationwide.

The company says its total applications for June were up 81% on the previous month and over 100% above its monthly average. Currently recruiting for roles across 72 residential services in support of adults with learning disabilities and mental health needs, Heathcotes is reports receiving an increasing number of applications from candidates switching from other sectors such as retail, leisure, tourism and hospitality.

Heathcotes head of recruitment, Colin Ramwell, said: “The Covid-19 crisis has created a great deal of uncertainty surrounding employment and our recruitment team has received a gradual increase in applications since March, but we saw a huge spike in June. It could be related to employers in certain sectors making difficult decisions about their staff as the government furlough scheme is phased out between now and October.

“In the short to medium term, we may see a shift in the composition of the UK’s workforce, with a higher percentage of people employed in sectors, like social care, that can offer job security. Employment in care can accommodate people making a change mid-career as the training and qualifications are usually provided and funded by the employer.”

“An Influx of applications is good news for care providers, but processing them has become more of a challenge. We are observing enhanced safety requirements, so initial interviews are carried out via Zoom. Although we may see a sustained increase in applicants, it remains vital for care providers to identify the right candidate profile within these numbers – someone with a caring, compassionate nature, a genuine interest in our profession and a desire to have a positive impact of the lives on the people we support.”

Heathcotes believes that another consequence of the pandemic is a more positive perception of care work.

Ramwell added: “There is now a much greater appreciation of social care’s vital role in society and its value as a profession that makes a real difference to people’s lives. Coronavirus has put enormous pressure on social care, but I know that Heathcotes staff have met the challenge with incredible energy, skill and commitment, as well as impressive creativity in finding ways to help our service users to cope, stay safe and stay engaged during lockdown.

“We are hugely proud of our service teams and I’m sure that many other care providers feel the same about their workforce.”