Richmond is facing the ‘greatest care worker shortage to date’, according to a consortium of care providers.

Five companies are issuing an urgent appeal for residents to consider a new career in care work, to help plug a shortfall of 500,000 workers in the sector.

Five providers currently operate in Richmond - Haven Care, Absolute Care Services, Holistic Care, Alpenbest Care and Medacs Healthcare.

However, the pandemic has caused home care workers — many of whom are older and women of colour — to find their roles stretched.

A recent report by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) showed there are about 1.5 million care workers across the UK, but UKCES said increasing demand will require an additional 500,000 workers by 2022.

UKCES said that the expected growth in the care sector’s workforce, which is at 27%, is the biggest in any industry.

The report highlighted the pressing need for the care industry to hire more young workers as the mean age of care staff today is 50 to 65 years old and many care workers are expected to retire in the next 15 years.

Now, these providers are appealing to the 17.2% of working aged people who are currently unemployed in Richmond.

Benefits of the sector include competitive pay, flexible hours, and the ability to work in the sector even when furloughed.

Currently, 13.5% of the population of Richmond are over 65 years old. Over the next 5-10 years, this is likely to lead to an increase in over-75s, and with that, a higher demand on care services.

Liz Bruce, Director of Adult Social Care and Public Health, said:

“Care workers provide vital work that the country relies on. By deciding to become a care worker, you will be helping people every day and making an important difference to their lives.

“It is rewarding and varied work which develops a strong set of career skills. The past year has shown us that care workers are heroes, and all care workers should be immensely proud of the work they do. We need dedicated care workers to ensure older and disabled people have a good quality of life – so, if helping people is something you could see yourself making a career out of, apply today!”

Fears over staff safety have eased as more adults are receive the Covid-19 vaccine.

Extra precautions are also in place to protect care workers, including safety guidelines and access to personal protective equipment (PPE).

If becoming a care worker is of interest, please go the website of the care providers listed above and search for careers.