Skills boot camps for the unemployed a desperate attempt to distract from government failings

Forcing unemployed into care jobs with poor wages is not the answer

Commenting on a speech today (Tuesday) by work and pensions secretary Mel Stride, in which he announced a ministerial taskforce to tackle recruitment in hard-to-fill sectors like social care, UNISON head of social care Gavin Edwards said:

“There’s nothing wrong with promoting social care as a career and offering proper training to try to attract new recruits to the crisis-stricken sector.

“But forcing the unemployed off benefits and into caring roles, while keeping pay rates low, simply won’t work. Most people will neither want to do the jobs, nor be remotely suited to them.

“This latest foolish idea shows ministers are clueless about how to fix care. It’s yet another desperate attempt to distract voters from years of government failure and broken promises.

“Ministers once thought they could persuade school leavers to work in care. When that failed, overseas workers became the solution. Now migrant carers have stopped coming because of government hostility, care is back to square one again.

“But the solution to the problems in care is staring ministers in the face. While the sector is kept at minimum-wage rates, employers will struggle to find and keep staff, and the many needing support won’t be helped.

“None of this is rocket science. Raise wages substantially and workforce pressures will lessen. By creating a fair pay agreement for care and the beginnings of a national care service, the crisis in the sector could soon be a distant memory.”

Notes to editors:
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union with more than 1.3 million members providing public services in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in the public, voluntary and private sectors.

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