We invest in our team of around 18,500 people from the moment each person starts work with us, with targeted induction processes, continually updated professional training and access to pensions and insurance benefits for all.
Some have a lifetime of experience in care, some come to it from other careers because of personal experience and others are just beginning their careers with us. Whatever stage our colleagues are at in their own clinical and professional journeys, we are alongside them every step of the way.
Training and developing the Care UK team
The quality of our team is crucial – we want the most compassionate, caring people who are determined to treat every patient, resident or person that we support as if they were a member of their own family.
In return, we offer colleagues an environment that rewards innovation and ambition, where ideas that make life better for the people we support are warmly welcomed. We know that people’s potential is unlimited, and so we offer them new opportunities to shine. For example, we have now trained our first nurse endoscopist and she is fully qualified to independently perform certain types of endoscopies.
Karen Murphy has direct experience of the support offered as her career hopes changed – she began work with us as a receptionist in the Shakespeare Medical Practice in Leeds several years ago, but then became interested in nursing and was offered the chance to train as a phlebotomist. She studied for a healthcare qualification and now sees patients for asthma, wound care, influenza, spirometry, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) reviews at the practice.
Training not only creates new opportunities, it also creates teams. Everyone who joins us is given a comprehensive induction programme starting with a personal needs assessment and followed by role-specific training to support them in their assigned responsibilities. We offer career development training at all levels, classroom based learning, on the job coaching and mentoring, online training and access to qualifications such as Skills for Life and diplomas.
With such a diverse workforce, we need to be sure that all our colleagues, especially those who are giving care in all kinds of settings across the country, have access to the same benefits and information that office-based personnel can see. That is why we have developed an online portal, accessible to colleagues on their own phones, laptops and tablets. Called Care UK Reward, it includes access to our pension schemes providers, personal insurance services, carefully selected corporate discount partners, and advice about what help is available to people returning to work after time at home with their children.
Our training programmes make sure that the service and standards we offer are consistently excellent, so that anyone using any of our services is given great care, with professionalism, warmth and efficiency.
We designed the i-care programme by listening to our home managers, the residents of our homes, the Care Quality Commission and our colleagues to discover what the very best care really looks like. We are now rolling out the programme, based on that experience, so that all our residential care teams develop their skills and consistent best practice is shared around the country alongside the day-to-day operation of our homes.
Using a combination of on-line training and face to face sessions, led by members of the home’s own team, we are equipping people both to ensure our standard operating procedures are consistently applied, and to put into practice the service and behaviour we expect from everyone who works with us. We are doing this in phased stages, to make sure it becomes fully embedded in our ways of working and customer service delivery systems.
The new training is tracked and monitored so that we can see where more coaching is needed and can track results. As it is owned and driven by each individual home, with the home manager and a team member trained as trainers, it is a live and flexible process that not only adds to consistency but personal development too.
The programme covers every aspect of a home’s care, from catering and laundry to welcoming friends and family, both equipping new team members with all the knowledge they need and giving existing colleagues the chance to develop their skills further.
We are very proud of our teams’ dedication to providing excellent care: we celebrate our people’s outstanding work and we are delighted when it is recognised externally. For instance, the award for Best Care Team, given to Tall Trees care home in Colchester at the UK Dementia Congress, is a delight for those involved and an encouragement for other homes. The home won the award for Best Care Team for their passionate support for residents’ individuality and independence.