The Caring View’s Mark Topps on flexibility, benefits and tech

A photo of Mark Topps

We sat down with Mark Topps, co-founder of The Caring View to get his take on how we can attract and retain more talent in social care.

How do you think we can inspire the next generation to get into care?

Flexible working is really important, and ensuring that we establish rotas that offer part time, true flexible hours. There are many providers offering this, but when you deep dive, the flexibility is not as flowing as it should be. We also need better benefits, wellbeing offering and things that attract the next generation. For example, digital detox days, duvet days and having people able to swap bank holidays if they want to work.

We’re seeing a growing number of unpaid carers who care for loved ones. What are your thoughts on supporting them into the industry?

I am all for this idea, and with the new proposed changes to visiting rights in care homes, this will be much more achievable. However, we need to spend more time upskilling unpaid carers, as this will be better for the carer and the person needing support. 

What are your views on free social care education?

While a lot of care workers do get some form of free training, providers are still reluctant to offer level 3 NVQs/QCFs in case people train themselves out of a job and progress into new roles. We need to get to a point where we are not scared of people leaving and progressing and encouraging people to flourish and grow. We need to do more to embed succession planning into social care.

When it comes to providing clear development and progression paths, some care providers do this really well and have it mapped out, but others have nothing. I am hopeful the Skills for Care people plan will address this.

What’s technology’s role in driving change in the sector?

We’re already seeing a number of providers coming into the market who are utilising AI for training purposes. The challenge will be how we replace current e-learning with tech and AI, as well as the cost of doing this. 

We also need to get better at using data in the sector. We have a number of managers who have come from the frontline and worked their way up because they are passionate, but they do not have a data skill set. Better training and upskilling for managers will be crucial.

How can we empower care providers to leverage the right technology?

Funding for changing care technology is currently in place for the first time, but providers who are stuck with care planning systems that aren’t fit for purpose can’t afford to change, and often many do not know where to start and worry about getting it wrong again. Upskilling in tech awareness is crucial to ensure providers are leveraging the right technology for them.

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