Social Care – Making a Difference across Northern Ireland
Health Minister Robin Swann has launched a new campaign to help boost the adult social care workforce in Northern Ireland. The ‘Social Care – Making a Difference’ campaign was developed by the Northern Ireland Social Care Council (Social Care Council) and highlights the important and valuable role of the social care workforce.
Speaking about the campaign, Health Minister Robin Swann, said: “Our social care sector works tirelessly, day and night to provide quality care to the most vulnerable in our society. The pandemic very clearly brought home the absolutely vital role of the sector and it was only through the effort and commitment of social care workers that services were maintained.
“In Northern Ireland we have a skilled and dedicated social care workforce who help transform lives and enable people to live well. However we can’t ignore the fact that the needs of our population are increasing and we need more skilled social care workers to meet the demand for these important services. Through this new campaign we not only hope to inspire the right people to consider a career in social care, but also help the general public gain a greater appreciation and awareness of the role of social care workers.”
‘Social Care – Making a Difference’ seeks to inspire a greater understanding, appreciation and awareness of the role of Social Care Workers through a series of video testimonials and inspiring images captured by Pulitzer award winning photographer Cathal McNaughton.
There are currently over 43,000 people registered as social care workers, the largest part of the health and social care system representing 4% of the total Northern Ireland workforce and it is a sector which will be required to grow into the future to meet emerging demand of a growing ageing population.
Telling the stories and recognising the contribution of social care workers during the Covid-19 pandemic and present day, the ‘Social Care – Making a Difference’ campaign highlights the diversity of roles and career choices across the various sectors and care settings.
There are men and women of all ages, working in social care across Northern Ireland who believe in better and believe in making a difference. Stephanie McAleese from Connected Health in Limavady started out as a Care Assistant with 20 clients and now leads a team of 120 staff. She believes there is no other job that is as fulfilling as a social care worker.
“Before I started in the care sector I was working as a deli assistant at my local butchers counter. I loved interacting with people and knew I had good communication skills especially when I was interacting with older members of the community. Once I was ready to go back to work after being on maternity leave, I made the decision that I wanted to give back more, so I applied for the job with Connected Health as a care assistant.
“I love my job and the career progression has been fantastic with second to none training provided. While I have more of an office-based role now, when the pandemic struck, I took on the role of carer with the COVID team answering call outs four times a week. I have three young children and had to make a choice to go back out into the community, but I knew it was something I had to do.
“I developed a special bond with Willy McCormick who was one of my first ever clients and I developed a real connection with his family providing a holistic approach to his care. I looked after not just his medical needs but also his emotional care needs and was a friendly face to talk to.
“Willy was bubbly and fun and we had a great rapport. When I got the call to say he had Covid I knew I had to be the one to care for him. I tried to encourage him to eat and get his strength back up, but he didn’t get better. I sat with his wife on the day of the funeral and watched from the family home offering moral and emotional support.
“Carers in the community play a vital role. They are there to get people out of bed, wash them, make them their dinner but it is more than that, it’s about the social interaction with the elderly and those in your care. All the carers are fantastic. They go over and above for everyone. It’s a career I would recommend to anyone, it’s really fulfilling there is nothing else I would like to do.”
Interested in a career in social care? Discover how you can make a difference at: niscc.info