WITH a national shortage of staff working in adult social care, combined with people living longer, there has never been a greater need for people to work in the sector.

And since it was launched in September 2019, County Durham Care Academy has played a major part in inspiring a new generation of care workers.

The Care Academy supports the recruitment and retention of staff, as well as providing training for both the potential and existing workforce.

Potential recruits can apply through three routes:

Route 1: The Care Academy is recruiting people aged 18-plus who are interested in starting a career in adult social care in County Durham…

There is a recruitment and training programme to train potential new staff to access opportunities in the adult social care sector.

The organisation has links with all commissioned adult social care providers in County Durham and provides tailored one-to-one support to help applicants find the perfect job locally.

Route 2: The routeway into adult social care prepares applicants for any role within adult social care.

The qualification is suitable for those who are looking to work in, or widen their knowledge of, the adult social care sector.

The course includes:

  • Level 1 – Preparing to work in adult social care, covering employability, interview skills and preparation for work
  • Level 2 – Food safety
  • Emergency first aid and manual handling
  • Elements of the care certificate
  • Free DBS check
  • Guaranteed interview with health and social care provider

There are no exams – just assessments.

The next online Sector-based Work Academy Programme (SWAP) starts on June 14 and 22 and runs every Tuesday and Wednesday for six weeks

Route 3: Personal Assistant (PA) induction training.

Personal assistants work directly with one or more individuals to help them with various aspects of their daily life, so that they can live as independently as possible.

It is an extremely varied role, with no two jobs the same, because the individual employer can choose how they want their personal assistant to support them.

Qualifications aren’t necessarily required but the important qualities employers look for are kindness, compassion, and thoughtfulness.

The course covers: safeguarding, infection control, Level 2 food safety, emergency first aid and a free DBS check.

There could also be opportunities to progress by taking a vocational qualification, such as a Diploma in Health and Social Care, or a continuing professional development qualification in disciplines such as dementia, end of life, or autism care.

Other routes forward include rising to become a senior personal assistant, responsible for organising rotas, training, or wages, or becoming an advocacy worker, care worker, or rehabilitation worker.

The next online PA course starts on May 5.

In addition, the Care Academy delivers a broad range of courses to help enable applications to gain fully accredited qualifications in a wide range of subjects.

With online and distance learning options available, the courses have the flexibility to be completed in your own time. They are ideal for keeping up to date with current working practices, legislation, and how to reduce skill gaps.

Fast-track routeway for positions with Durham County Council Extra Care

Durham County Council provides and ‘in house’ Extra Care Service which offers adults who are 55 plus, or those who have needs associated with a specific condition, an alternative to moving into residential care.

Each person moving into Extra Care has their own one or two-bedroomed apartment, which is managed in partnership with a housing association.  

Each complex has an on-site care and support team employed by Durham County Council, providing 24-hour care and support on a domiciliary care basis. The team provides all aspects of personal care and support to enable people to live as full and independent life as possible.

There are seven purpose-built Extra Care units across County Durham.

The Care Academy is currently recruiting Home Care Support Workers and running routeways in Seaham and Barnard Castle.  Full training is provided and there are great opportunities for career development.

If you would like more information, please contact careacademy@durham.gov.uk