Could you have a positive impact on someone’s life?

Katie Tierney is a carer working for Capability Scotland.

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A national campaign to increase the adult social care workforce has been  launched.

The There’s More to Care Than Caring recruitment campaign features stories from adult care workers.

Across Scotland around 145,000 people currently work in adult social care in a range of roles, including supporting people with physical disabilities, dementia, autism, older people and those with mental health conditions.

The campaign, which has been developed in collaboration with the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) and key partners in the social care sector, will run across radio, online, newspapers and social media.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman and Children and Young People Minister Maree Todd attended the campaign launch at community hub Tribe Porty in Portobello, Edinburgh.

Ms Freeman said: ‘Working in adult social care can be hugely rewarding – for many it’s more than job, it’s work they give enormous commitment to.

‘As today’s report from the Care Inspectorate and SSSC highlights, one of the main difficulties services face when trying to fill vacancies is not having enough applicants or the right applicants. That is exactly what this campaign seeks to address.

‘Brexit presents a clear threat to the future of our health and social care services and the EU workforce make a valuable contribution to this sector as well as others. As a responsible government we will continue to do all we can to support our health and social care services.’

Katie Tierney, 34, works in community living services at Capability Scotland in Edinburgh, and has two roles. As a support worker, she helps people in homes with all their basic needs. As a moving-in assistant, she helps new recruits come up-to-speed with their training as well as offering refresher training for any other employees.

She said: ‘I was working in a factory before I got into social care, but it wasn’t what I wanted to do. I always wanted to work in social care but at my first interview I didn’t get a job and it knocked my confidence a bit. I waited until I was a bit older to re-apply and came across Capability Scotland and applied, I’ve been here nearly five years now.

‘My days at work vary but I follow a usual system of visiting the people I care for in the morning and helping them with their morning routine. This might be helping them out of bed, helping them wash or change, or serving breakfast for them. I’ll also help some get ready for work. I usually work from ten a.m. until eight thirty with some breaks in between but I’ll manage to visit most people during the day.

‘It’s a very rewarding career. You make people happy and it melts your heart to see how much your help means to them. You see people develop and improve every day and it’s great to know that you can have a positive impact on their lives.

‘There are obviously challenges too. Some people don’t really want your support and want to stick to their own routine. They may not want advice and you need to think how to adapt to the situation and how you could help. You need to have a positive mindset and try and make things fun for them.

‘We’ve been working with a man who suffered severe brain injuries. There are three of us working with him and we’ve managed to get him into a good routine now. He used to be a chef before his injury and we have helped to get him cooking again. It’s great to see him enjoying preparing meals for himself again. He’s back into a positive routine every day and conversing with people again too, which is brilliant.’

Katie’s advice to people looking to apply for an adult social care position: ‘You need to have a great personality to work in social care. It’s important to be chatty and able to converse with people. Obviously, you need to be caring, good-natured, and patient. It’s important to be able to empathise and understand people’s situations.

‘Don’t listen to any negative perceptions and other people’s opinions on what they think social care involves. It’s not what people imagine it to be. Don’t let them put you off because you get the chance to make a big impact on someone’s life. Even if you are only working part-time and juggling school, university, or other commitments – a couple of hours a week is all it takes to make a difference.’