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Skills For Care Guide For People Who Employ Their Own Staff
Skills For Care Guide For People Who Employ Their Own Staff
A Skills for Care guide to:
Creating a skilled social care workforce for individual employers employing their own care and support staff
High quality care
Over 160,000 people across England are now employing personal assistants (PAs) to provide care and support for themselves or a loved one. With the benefits and flexibility of employing your own staff comes the responsibility of being an employer.
Personal assistants are a growing workforce and the need to train and develop them is becoming even more important. Apprenticeships provide a comprehensive way to do this, leading to a highly skilled and motivated workforce.
An Apprenticeship is a combination of on and off the job training and learning, available for people of all ages. Apprenticeships are not just for young people but for all ages and allow apprentices to develop skills in a real working environment.
Apprenticeships are available for your existing staff and can also be used as an opportunity to recruit new PAs and develop them for a permanent position. You can get financial and practical support to run an Apprenticeship programme.
This guide provides more information on Apprenticeships, the benefits of the programme and how you can support an Apprentice.
“You can’t teach someone to care but you can train them, give them new skills and a qualification to be proud of” Individual employer
How will I benefit from employing an Apprentice?
“Since doing the Apprenticeship all tasks undertaken by my PAs are being completed properly, following the legal requirements. I have more confidence in their abilities when at work” Individual employer
For more information on the benefits, including those for the apprentice, please see Skills for Care’s guide for employers implementing social care Apprenticeships: www.skillsforcare.org.uk/apprenticeshipsguide
How does an Apprenticeship work?
The Apprenticeship in Health and Social Care is available to anyone over 16 years with no upper age limit.
There are two types of Apprenticeships available:
Most Apprenticeships last between one and two years with a combination of ‘off- the-job’ learning and ‘on-the-job’ training.
Employers can partner with learning providers directly or via a support organisation/network* or Apprenticeship Training Agency to create programmes that are tailored to meet your needs. The learning provider will look after all of the administrative aspects of the study programme.
* User led organisations, Direct Payments Support Organisations and other networks will be referred to as support organisations/networks throughout this document.
Assessment is done in the workplace whilst the apprentice performs their job. The delivery of new skills or knowledge is done at college with a learning provider or can be done at the workplace but ‘off-the-job’.
“The delivery of the Apprenticeship has been tailored to my individual needs and the optional units of study have helped my PA focus on what’s important to me” Individual employer
Apprentices are expected to be contracted to work a minimum of 30 hours per week. There are a number of solutions however if your PA is not required for 30 hours:
Like all employees, apprentices must still receive a wage. The National Minimum Wage for apprentices is £2.65 per hour from 1 October 2012. However as skills develop, many employers tend to increase the wages.
How do I pay for an apprentice?
Government funding varies for Apprenticeships.
The National Apprenticeship Service will match employer’s commitment to hiring apprentices by covering in full (or in part) the training costs. This is paid directly to the organisation that provides and supports the Apprenticeship - in most cases this will be a learning provider.
To find out what is currently available, please visit the National Apprenticeship Service website www.apprenticeships.org.uk
Some or all of the training fee and other related costs such as PA cover may be funded retrospectively via Skills for Care’s Workforce Development Fund.
To access the Workforce Development Fund (WDF) you will need to:
“My PA is more committed to training and development since accessing an Apprenticeship” Individual employer
How is the Apprenticeship programme run?
Case study example
“The Apprenticeship scheme is just perfect for training your staff. They have picked up, in my experience, a lot of useful skills and have made my life a lot easier.” Rory Moss, individual employer
Rory has created his own bespoke Apprenticeship programme for his team of personal assistants (PAs) with support from his local direct payments support service, Cheshire Centre for Independent Living (CCIL).
Rory has worked in partnership with CCIL and his chosen training provider to create a successful Apprenticeship programme which is tailored to his individual needs and the needs of his apprentice.
CCIL supported Rory to find and communicate with local training providers and to develop a flexible Apprenticeship which fits in around his day to day life.
How will I find an apprentice?
You may identify an existing employee as a potential apprentice. If not there are a number of resources available to help.
Skills for Care has developed a comprehensive toolkit to help people employ their own personal assistants, which includes information on how to recruit staff. The toolkit appendices include sample documents such as interviews questions, contracts of employment and risk assessments. To view the toolkit visit www.skillsforcare.org.uk/recruitment.
If you are recruiting a new apprentice, it is recommended that Skills for Care’s selection and recruitment processes are followed and that the potential apprentice (new or existing) be assessed by the learning provider to ensure they will be able to complete the Apprenticeship framework. It is also recommended that an Apprenticeship agreement is signed.
The National Apprenticeship Service is a free service for employers to advertise their vacancies and for potential apprentices to search and apply for vacancies. Training providers can also be sourced from this website though the list provided is not conclusive. Visit their website at www.apprenticeships.org.uk
Support organisations/networks may also support you with recruitment. Apprenticeship Training Agencies will recruit the apprentice and assume responsibility as the employer.
How to get started
Every Apprenticeship programme is different to meet the needs of the individual employer, the apprentice and the demands of the role. There are three main approaches to getting started:
The National Apprenticeship Service has details on their website for you to search for one in your area.
“The Apprenticeship has enabled my PA to fully understand her responsibilities. I feel she has gained a great deal of knowledge from her Apprenticeship and is using this to enhance our care at home. I would find it useful to let my other PAs do an Apprenticeship as I feel the training is paramount to the role” Individual Employer, Bristol
Top tips on running a successful Apprenticeship programme
Useful resources and contacts
Skills for Care
Phone: 0113 245 1716
National Apprenticeship Service
Phone: 08000 150 600
Skills Funding Agency
Phone: 0845 377 5000
Hard copies of the following documents mentioned in this guide can be ordered by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 0113 245 1716
Apprenticeship employer guide
– A guide for employers implementing social care Apprenticeships (please note: delivery models in section three may vary)
Personal assistant toolkit
– A toolkit to help people employ their own personal assistants
Care Training Codes
– A guide to help anyone who may need to buy in training for their own staff
Other useful publications can be found at: www.skillsforcare.org.uk/individualemployers
Thanks to the following people for their contribution in developing this guide:
Nikki Watson Compass Disability Services
Sarah Bryson WECIL Ltd
Jackie Taylor HCPA Ltd
Jonathan Taylor Cheshire Centre for Independent Living
Louise Whitley Suffolk Brokerage