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Evaluation of the Sector Hub Action Research Project. Funded by the Community Renewal Fund Promoting care as a career – a pilot project devised and led by Acacia Training in Stoke on Trent

ROWLEY, Jane, FORRESTER, Gillian, ADEFILA, Arinola, PUGH, Jim, BASFORD, Jo and HUDSON, Ruth (2022) Evaluation of the Sector Hub Action Research Project. Funded by the Community Renewal Fund Promoting care as a career – a pilot project devised and led by Acacia Training in Stoke on Trent. Research report for external body. Staffordshire University, Stoke-on-Trent. (Submitted)

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Abstract or description

The Sector Hub Action Research Project (SHARP) is a pilot project designed to inform how providers can work collaboratively to address skills shortages in the adult, child, and domiciliary care sectors. The project was funded by the Government Skills for Growth Plan; a national programme, which seeks to promote the Levelling Up Agenda by improving skills, infrastructure, and innovation. The project had three strands, first was to promote care as a career, including care-focused outreach targeting under-represented groups delivered by Acacia Training and Acorn Training. Secondly, Acacia Training provided care-focused information, advice, and guidance on careers in care, job opportunities, transferrable skills, salary, and progression. Finally, Acacia Training developed a portfolio of care provider resources and actions which support job retention and career progression in the health and social care sector.

The evaluation led by Staffordshire University monitored and tracked the outreach, training, and support as well as navigation to employment in the target sector using an Appreciative Inquiry (AI) model. AI provided a rich tapestry of experiences of staff and trainees or potential care staff. The report includes findings from the surveys and interviews illustrating a direct correlation between support provided and outcomes. Six key themes are highlighted in the report, reiterating the impact Covid-19 had on employment relations which are particularly important in the health and social care system. The evaluation emphasised how lack of orientation opportunities influenced workflow and team management procedures during the pandemic. Other barriers identified have been cited in literature, such as the policies around enforced vaccination, the emotional labour of work in the care sector and unwillingness to engage with pride in jobs which involve personal care. The report also stresses the need for holistic support, with reference to enhancing digital access for potential trainees who may be motivated but do not have the technical resources and know how to engage with digital employment routes or systems.

The recommendations are linked to the holistic needs highlighted in the pilot and its evaluation, suggesting wrap-around support which enhances appreciation of the range of roles in the sector, the need for localised opportunities and established, attractive progression routes. Comprehensive training and development programmes that support skills, confidence and care as a career are also important.

Item Type: Monograph or Report (Research report for external body)
Faculty: School of Life Sciences and Education > Education
Depositing User: Gillian FORRESTER
Date Deposited: 22 May 2023 14:13
Last Modified: 22 May 2023 14:13

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