More young people are needed to join the care workforce in Wales if it is to have enough workers to meet the challenges of the future.
Only around 11 per cent of the social care workforce in Wales is under 25, while 32 per cent of employees are over 50, according to Social Care Wales.
To highlight the variety of care jobs that are available locally to young people, national recruitment campaign, WeCare Wales, is launching a week of activity from today (9 September).
Called We Care Wales Week, it will shine a light on what working in social care and childcare is really like. Young people will share their experiences of working in different roles in social care, early years and childcare.
Sue Evans, Chief Executive of Social Care Wales, said: “It’s vital that more young people take up care as a career to help future-proof the workforce, as a large proportion of current employees are nearing retirement age.
“The Welsh Government’s roll-out of 30 hours’ free childcare for working parents and support for unemployed parents who want to train and gain skills means early years and childcare providers are also likely to need more workers to meet a growth in demand.
“We know from our own research that young people often see working in care as hard work. 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.
“We hope this campaign, showcasing young people who have chosen a rewarding career in social care, early years and childcare, will inspire others to find out more and discover the benefits,” added Sue.
Alaw Paul, 22, from Porthmadog, is a Youth Support Worker. Discussing the reasons why she chose to work in social care, she said: “I decided to work in the sector to make sure young people in my community had lots of opportunities to reach their potential. Through my work, I’m able to develop projects that are all about building their confidence and skills whilst benefitting the wider community at the same time.
“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. 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.”
Matthew Milum, 31 is a Team Leader in Abacus Nursery in Swansea. He said: “Preparing young children for the next stage of their lives and teaching them basic life skills is vital for every child. Nursery work is not just playing, it involves a lot of planning and teaching, which I quickly realised.
“There are times where is gets tough. But the look on their faces when they achieve something and knowing I have given them guidance, to teach them how to put on their coat, for example, is amazing.
“If you’ve got enthusiasm and want to help people, then you will really thrive in this environment.”
The WeCare Wales campaign challenges people’s perceptions of working in care. While it can be demanding, for the right people it can be a purposeful career, available locally, with the flexibility to gain skills and qualifications while working.
If you think you have what it takes and are interested in a career working with adults, young people and children, visit WeCare.wales. You can search job roles, hear employee stories and find information on local employers in your area.
To join in the conversation on social media, use #WeCareWeek from 9 September.