When it comes to social care English, maths and employability skills all form the core skills needed for any role within the sector. However one area, largely overlooked but is just as important is digital skills. And though digital technologies are most commonly used in business administration and communications it is also significantly impacting the delivery of care and support services. A recent survey from Skills for Care found that 95% of participants used digital technology for at least one work-related activity. Technology is becoming more and more integral to ways of working within social care. The use of technology can include digital care plans, internet searches and e-learning for your employees.
Why are digital skills important for my workforce?
There are a number of reasons why technology is becoming more common place within social care and why your workforce needs the right digital skills to work effectively;
- According to the UK Commission for Employment and Skills 19% of health and social care employers reported vacancies proving hard to fill for non-skills related reasons. Skilled workers is becoming all the more vital in the sector
- With people receiving more care in their own homes, the use of technology becomes paramount, such as telecare systems and assistive living technologies. Social care workers need the digital skills to be able to support those living at home to live more independently and get the best out of their home technologies.
- As organisations within the sector increase, as well as the number of people requiring support, there is a call for services to become more integrated and for professionals and organisations to join up and support individuals. Technology and the digital skills you and your employees play an important part in ensuring an ability to communicate with other and work as a larger team.
- The social care sector is set to become paperless by 2020. Developing your employees digital skills relevant to their work will be fundamental in achieving this.
How can I upskill my team?
There are processes you can put in place which effectively lead your team to think and act more digitally. Changing paper based systems for example into digital systems is a good start; not only can it save costs it can alleviate administrative duties allowing your staff more time with individuals at work. It will also train your team whilst they work to think more digitally by doing.
You also want to get buy in from your team. Have workshop sessions with your team to discuss the challenges they face in their day-to-day work and how working digitally might help improve their workload. This might include discussions around training and development, or even agile working. Think about your training plan and how you will monitor progress. Also think about whether your team will benefit from working offsite and what technology they will need to be able to do this.
Skills for Care have a full guide on how you can implement technology and build the digital skills of your team. For more information on how to attract the right candidates to your organisation speak to BS Social Care who are always on hand with advice on your recruitment.