At least 60 care sector vacancies in Mid and East Antrim, council told

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is seeking to recruit workers for the health and social care sector.

The local authority says there are at least 60 care sector vacancies in the council area among 10 employers including the Northern Health and Social Care Trust.

The health and social care academy programme is aimed at providing employment opportunities and developing relationships with care employers in the borough.

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The 12-month level two diploma in health and social care will be open to 30 participants.

It is a work-based course and is the required qualification for registration in the social care sector in Northern Ireland. It is expected to cost £29,500 to deliver.

It will offer residents who are out of work or under-employed an opportunity to develop “job specific skills to increase their employability and secure employment within the health and social care sector”.

A report to the council’s Borough Growth Committee on Monday evening stated that health sector employers have been highlighting a “high turnover of staff and reliance on agency staff to ensure rotas are filled”.

It also said that the current range of unfilled vacancies offer an opportunity to provide sustainable employment opportunities to the unemployed and under-employed.

“The programme will be fully aligned with the needs of local employers and will help them to access staff with the suitable skills and qualifications,” councillors were advised.

Braid DUP Councillor William McCaughey commented that the sector needs to ask why hiring is so difficult.

“They have to raise pay to hold on to their workers. I am sure they would welcome input from council trying to deliver a programme.

“I propose that we need to speak to the Health and Social Services Board to see about finding a way to stop the constant turnover.”

Ballymena SDLP Cllr Eugene Reid stated: “There needs to be a complete reform of the delivery of health and social care services.”

Braid TUV Cllr Brian Collins suggested that 60 vacancies would be “very conservative”.

“It is quite a hard job to recruit nurses into the private sector and the NHS have outsourced from other countries. Retired staff came back for the Covid emergency. I would commend the council for what they are trying to do.”

Read previous health care in pandemic story here

Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter.

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