How are recruitment and training specialists supporting care providers through the COVID-19 crisis?


Home care providers across the country are facing an urgent need to recruit frontline care workers so that vulnerable and older adults can continue to receive the care and support they need.

COVID-19 is heightening demand for home care services, while many care and support workers are having to self-isolate, either because they are displaying symptoms themselves or have come into contact with somebody who has, or might have, the virus.

Home care providers must therefore recruit people quickly and safely, and when those people are on-board, they must train them as swiftly as possible so they are ready to work on the frontline.

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Here, we list some of the recruitment and training specialists that are supporting providers with this process.


As part of its efforts to support the sector, CACHE, a major provider of health and social care qualifications, is working with colleges and training providers to make its provision more readily available through online delivery so employers can quickly access training, which can plug essential skills gaps within their workforce.

Through CACHE Alumni, its online professional membership network for individuals and employers within the care and education sectors, it is also providing free CPD resources and online training opportunities, as well as signposting members to a range of external resources.

For those returning to work from retirement or a period of absence, engaging in CPD can provide a reassuring “soft entry”, allowing them to brush up on their skills and boost their confidence, particularly at a time when they will likely be dealing with new situations and challenges presented by COVID-19.

For those considering a career change or embarking on a career in the care sector for the first time, there are introductory awards, which can be a useful way to find out more about what a career in the sector entails and whether it’s right for them. This ensures people are properly prepared and understand their duty of care before they start, offering a degree of reassurance for providers making quick hires to fill roles and meet demand.

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Julie Hyde, executive director of Education and Training Strategy at NCFE and CACHE.


The Care Friends app is a new recruitment solution that ‘gameifies’ the employee referral process.

Launched by Neil Eastwood, CEO of social care recruitment specialist Sticky People, the app allows care workers to share a job with their contact list in exchange for a point, which equates to £1.

If someone responds to that referral and applies, they receive more points, decided by the employer, and additional points if they turn up to an interview and start in the role.

The app is currently in the pre-launch phase and is set to officially launch next month, but Care Friends is taking on pre-launch customers every week and is currently working with 45 care providers.

Early results show that there was a 10% interview no-show with app-referred candidates versus a 50% or worse no-show with internet job boards.

Eighty-six per cent of those interviewed after being referred through the app were offered a job, versus the usual 70 to 75% success rate. And 79% of app-referred new starters remained in the post after three months versus 58% in home care nationally from the typical mix of job boards, Facebook, job fairs and word of mouth.

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Neil Eastwood, CEO of Sticky People and founder of Care Friends.


Careskills Academy was among the first e-learning providers in the UK to be endorsed by Skills for Care.

Launched in 2014 by John Loizu, a former care home operator and Caremark franchisee, the company is now trusted by over 3,000 care providers.

The provider offers 60 CPD-accredited courses covering everything from the Care Certificate and autism spectrum conditions to dementia awareness and safeguarding.

It also offers a Learning Management System to help providers overcome staff compliance training challenges by providing tools to reduce the time, effort and hassle around training administration.

In relation to coronavirus prevention, its e-learning courses cover hand hygiene and how the chain of infection can be broken; basic food hygiene and how to prepare food safely; personal care and the use of PPE; and infection control.

CareSkills Academy has also created a free coronavirus e-learning tutorial for care managers. This covers the information, advice and guidance on coronavirus that care managers need for their services.

The aim is to help teams implement safe procedures that minimise risk.

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My Learning Cloud, an online training platform for the health and social care sectors, is offering ten free courses to all providers in response to Skills for Care’s ‘COVID-19 – Essential Training’ guidance.

Skills for Care has identified training that remains a priority during the pandemic to ensure there is a skilled and competent workforce, and endorsed providers that deliver that training, including My Learning Cloud.

The ten courses included under the scheme, which are designed for volunteers, existing staff and staff being redeployed, as well as rapid induction for new staff, are: Care Certificate; Assisting and Moving People; Basic Life Support; Fire Awareness; Food Safety; Health and Safety Awareness; Infection Control; Medication Awareness; Safeguarding Adults; and Volunteer Induction.

Additionally, as part of the CQC-supported COVID-19 initiative, My Learning Cloud will set up its current customers with a free volunteer portal to help train new staff during this period.

My Learning Cloud customers are also entitled to a free 90 minute training session to ensure that they are getting the most out of their learning and development system.

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Steven Embleton, chief cloud at My Learning Cloud


The National Care Force was set up in March to help social care providers fill staff gaps with health workers and volunteers during the coronavirus outbreak.

The free online platform, powered by health technology firm Florence, works by allowing users to book shifts available across the social care sector. Shifts are posted directly by the care providers who have joined.

At the beginning of last month, Florence announced that it had signed up 20,000 volunteers and 2,000 providers to support the care workforce in this challenging time.

After going through compliance checks, including qualifications and criminal record, users update their profile with skills and experience.

Care providers follow a similar process, adding details about their care setting and skills required. The platform’s algorithm will match relevant positions to users.

Everything is managed for free through the platform, which also stores reminders of upcoming shifts, and allows for cancellations.

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Social care recruitment specialist Novacare recently rebranded as Netli to offer four separate services to the care sector.

The services include Novacare’s previous domain of recruitment software, though the new ‘WORKFORCE’ programme also includes workforce management tools.

Other services include, Scotland’s first dedicated jobs board for the care sector, and a consulting programme built specifically for the industry. has recently announced an offer of unlimited free advertising of care vacancies to support the UK’s care providers with the staffing crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

To further support care providers, is running active marketing and advertising campaigns to raise awareness of careers in care, and is drumming up support from a number of local authorities and industry bodies throughout the UK.

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Skills for Care supports adult social care employers to deliver what their service users need and what commissioners and regulators expect. It does this by helping employers get the best from their most valuable resource – their people.

The organisation’s practical support helps leaders and managers recruit, develop and lead their staff, retaining them from entry level right through to senior leadership and management roles.

As part of its efforts to support the sector through the pandemic, the charity has published guidance on essential training and created dedicated webpages specifically for registered managers, regulated professionals and individual employers to make it easy for them to access the latest information on COVID-19.

It has also recently launched a COVID-19 advice line for the sector. The service will offer bespoke advice to managers, including the latest information, resources, funding, online learning and other opportunities provided by Skills for Care, as well as direction to support from other agencies.

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SureCert is a tech start-up that aims to connect people with job and volunteering opportunities in the care sector during the COVID-19 crisis.

The company has recently been awarded government funding under the TechForce19 challenge to develop its digital platform.

The challenge is an NHSX Covid-19 response initiative focussed on creating a pool of technologies that have the potential to rapidly scale regionally and nationally.

SureCert, which has offices in Belfast, Edinburgh and London, digitises the recruitment process by matching people with employment and volunteering openings.

Supported by Experian, it also manages background checks, enabling policy makers to better understand the labour market and volunteering supply and demand, all without the need for face-to-face contact, speeding up the recruitment process. 

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The Care Hub specialises in helping domiciliary care providers that are struggling to find the talent they need to grow.

The company delivers a recruitment healthcheck and audit, which identifies bottlenecks in a provider’s processes and procedures. It then delivers a set of findings and recommendations that providers can either implement themselves or call on the support of The Care Hub to help them.

The Care Hub offers a Recruitment Outsourcing Solution to help providers drive down their agency costs and improve the quality of their care workers. Made up of ex-care workers, the team helped Standwalk Care reduce its vacancies by 72% in 16 weeks.

Finally, The Care Hub’s recruitment platform allows providers to manage, maintain and control their recruitment from a single dashboard, saving them time that can be used for supporting, training and engaging in their current workforce.

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Tags : coronavirusRecruitmenttraining
Sarah Clarke

The author Sarah Clarke

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