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This year for the first time, Search Health and Social Care furthered their commitment to championing the health and social care sector by contributing to the Great British Care Awards, a celebration of excellence in the industry.
There are twenty one awards categories available for nomination, which represent all areas of the social care sector, whether it be older people or specialist services, residential or home care. From frontline staff such as support workers and care managers to people who have made an impact in other ways such as training and innovation.
At Search, we work across the country with carers who day-in, day-out, provide the vital support to the elderly, people with learning disabilities and mental health needs. Our skilled support workers work with families and individuals in crisis, often having to meet challenging situations head-on to put their clients first. “All in a day’s work” many of them will say, working unsociable hours for basic pay rates, limited by the stretched funding in the sector. For this reason, it was a very humbling experience to meet the regional winners of their category as part of the panel to decide who takes the award at the national finals.
What strikes me as so special about the Great British Care Awards is the particular focus on individual workers within the great companies that operate in the health and social care sector. This helps to shine a light on the many acts of kindness, voices raised and problems solved- all of which happen everyday but go unheralded or unrewarded. And who better to tell those stories than the workers themselves?
The nominees I had the honour of meeting were those frontline leaders within residential care and environments. Representing this category were care co-ordinators, senior care assistants, team leaders and deputy managers. Typically, this role is the first step into management and could very much be seen as the most challenging.
Not only are they still expected to continue providing hands-on, and direct care, delivering all aspects of the support to their clients, but they are also expected to have accountability for the operations and smooth running of the shift on their unit, service or care home. To do this involves leading by example and setting a standard for exceptional care. Social care leaders are responsible for motivating, leading, supervising and managing the other carers who may not be as experienced or constantly driven as they are.
The stories and examples I heard were inspiring, innovative, and sometimes a little out-of-the-box, but they were all united by one thing: the commitment to the delivery of exceptional care. The leaders demonstrated that they could rise to the added responsibility with maturity, fairness and above all good humour!
It was also brilliant to see that these leaders were using their more senior positions to champion the work of their team mates and speak up and campaign for those who needed different methods of support, often putting their own confidence to the test as age-old processes and status quo were questioned and challenged.
The Awards give those in the health and social care sector a platform to promote the inspirational stories of individuals working in an often undervalued sector. What’s more, it is a fantastic way to showcase the opportunities, benefits and positive impact that can be made from a career in health and social care, especially for support workers and care assistants, helping to attract those who may have not have otherwise considered it.
We understand the importance of matching and introducing the right talent and skills to our clients. Through shortlisting the nominees, we were able to use the same techniques as we use in recruitment to select candidates for support worker jobs. From this, we were able to draw out the best examples of exceptional care to help decide the overall winner.
I came away from the day, which seemed to fly by, knowing that if these guys were the social care sector leaders of the future, heading up organisations in more senior roles, the industry would be in very safe hands. And if they continued at the level they are at, devoted to the frontline leadership at which clearly excel, the organisations they work for are very lucky indeed.
Choosing a winner is a nigh-on impossible task, but all will be revealed on the night!
As specialist recruiters of health and social care jobs across the UK, we have developed an extensive portfolio of clients that supply a range of social care jobs.