Archive of European Projects

Health and socialcare workers: Employability Learning and Professionalisation
Start date: 01 Sep 2014, End date: 31 Aug 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The ‘care gap’ is the difference between the need for health and social care for older people & the capacity to provide that care through family, friends or professional carers. HELPcare proposes to help close the care gap via better management of the education and training of care workers to develop a more professional workforce that will attract recruits and has recognised progression pathways. The problem: 1) The EU population is aging rapidly 2) Many care workers are engaged in the informal economy 3) Health & social care workers in the formal economy find it very difficult to access training and development opportunities; 4) Qualifications for care workers are not a pre-requisite for employment & there are no agreed education and training standards across the EU for this sort of work. 5) Health and Social Care work is seen as undesirable and low status with no recognised routes for progression into wider caring professions and with no HE-based training available in this specialist area for managers/leaders of care provision. The overall aim of HELPcare is to develop and transfer innovative practices in education for the qualification and professionalization of health and social care workers as well as encourage people to view health and social care work as a positive career choice with recognized routes for progression through VET and from VET to HE. Objectives: 1. To develop a model based upon best practice for training and regulation standards for existing home / healthcare workers that can be adapted and adopted across the EU either nationally, regionally or locally dependent on setting 2. To work with those currently providing home /health and socialcare services (via undeclared labour or via provider organizations), VET establishments and users and commissioners of homecare to develop a model of CPD to develop pathways to professionalisation and provide new routes for progression from home /healthcare work into the wider range of health and social care and to explore the potential of HE-based qualifications in health and social care management. 3. To explore existing health and social care qualifications in partner countries and develop a new model of work-based/VET-based learning outcomes for health and social care that will fit into the HELPcare framework for professionalisation. a. Includes developing skills mapping tools for existing care workers to assist in their effective CPD & the development of a careers guidance portfolio aimed at highlighting the possibilities of a career in home health care 4. Develop a transnational network and community of practice comprising service commissioners, policy makers and VET providers to disseminate best practice in health and social care workers education and CPD throughout the EU. Our participants will include health and social care workers from both the formal and informal sectors (500), vulnerable older people (100) who make use of care workers (and the families of vulnerable older people), employers of care workers in the formal economy (150) VET providers, HE providers, commissioners of care from statutory bodies, third sector and local, regional and national government agencies. Activities include: A survey of 500 care workers to establish educational level & need, interviews with 100 care workers to further explore barriers to education, interviews with 100 older people to explore the impact of untrained versus trained carers on their lives, work with VET /HE providers to establish clear learning outcomes for VET based training and potential for HE training at level 4. Work with employers to develop models of work-based learning & commissioners to explore best practice in care, training, recruitment & progression. Outcomes include: An online course of CPD for care workers & pilot of this, careers guidance framework, skills mapping tools, progression pathways, ECVET learning outcomes, a conference to share our findings, policy briefings, education for commissioners and employers in strategies for professionalizing the workforce and best practice in financing training and regulating care work, briefings for HE providers on potential for progression to HE. Impact: bridging the care gap is essential if the EU is to manage the rapid demographic change taking place. This project will help raise the profile of a critically important issue & has the potential to offer innovative ways of using education & training to professionalize & thus develop an under-valued workforce that currently has difficulty recruiting and retaining workers. In the longer term it will assist in moving people from the informal to the formal economy via making the sector more attractive to work in through offering recognised training and progression routes and through proposing sensible regulation based on an effective needs analysis.
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