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‘We Care’ – a national attraction, recruitment and retention campaign for social care and early years and childcare

Date: February 2019

Programme Lead: Andrew Bell, Social Care Wales

Contact: andrew.bell@socialcare.wales

As committed within Healthier Wales, Social Care Wales and Health Education and Improvement Wales will develop a new strategy to ensure a future workforce across health and social care to meet the needs of the people of Wales over the next decade.  The strategy is to be developed by this autumn and will draw on the key workforce principles within a Healthier Wales, the Welsh Government’s long-term vision for health and social care.  Three of the key workforce streams identified as part of the emerging strategy are linked to attraction, recruitment and retention.

The Welsh Government’s Childcare, Play and Early Years 10 year workforce plan commits to attracting high quality new recruits through for example recruitment frameworks and employment programmes.  Social Care Wales is a key partner in the delivery of the workforce plan.

In this context Social Care Wales is working with partners to develop a bilingual national attraction, recruitment and retention campaign for social care and early years and childcare, that can support the delivery of the 10 year childcare, play and early years workforce plan, and respond to the health and social care workforce strategy.  This will support the significant challenges faced in attracting and recruiting individuals to work in the social care, early years and childcare sector. 

The ambition of this three to four-year campaign will be to raise the positive profile of careers in the sectors, as well as awareness of the vast number of roles and specialisms that are available.  This, in turn, will help draw new people into careers in social care and early years and childcare.  

One of the core principles is to make sure that the campaign is sustainable and owned by the sector and we have been guided by independent expertise.

The development of ideas for the campaign have been influenced by extensive engagement and consultation with both the general public and those working in the sectors.  This has enabled us to really understand what the campaign messages need to be and how best to present these messages through imagery and video form.

A central theme from the engagement and consultation to-date is establishing the key determinants for retaining staff in what can be very challenging roles.  What has emerged, unsurprisingly, is that the act of supporting others and using their professional expertise to offer advice and empowerment as well as direct care is seen to be highly rewarding.   This central theme has become the brand, with the campaign being entitled ‘We Care’. 

Our research has also told us that, generally, the public have little understanding of the sectors and the many roles within them.  Our ambition with the campaign is to help people appreciate the vast breadth of roles and, in turn, see if any of them align with their values.  Evidence suggests that a values based approach is likely to attract the right people, who may be motivated to join the sector.

An important sub-context to the messages within the campaign is the reality that not everyone is suitable to work in social care or early years and childcare; so our campaign issues the positive challenge of ‘have you got what it takes?’   This message has been worded to try to ensure that we draw the right people into the sectors, thus supporting positive recruitment and retention.

A campaign website (www.wecare.wales) will also become live at the same time as the campaign launch and will be the on-line route for people to find out more and explore potential career opportunities.

The launch will take place on 5 March 2019 and will have a primary focus on digital routes, such as social media and on-line, with a series of printed materials across Wales on billboards, buses and outside supermarkets.

A steering group has been established, with a wide range of organisations helping to shape and spread the messages about the campaign.