When technology is embedded seamlessly into care and support services, it can be transformative: helping people to live happy, fulfilled lives in their homes and communities.
But technology on its own will not be successfully adopted without equipping adult social care teams with the confidence, skills and support to embed digital ways of working. We hear often that training on digital skills is on the list of priorities but it’s hard to know where to start.
In 2021, we commissioned Ipsos Mori, the Institute of Public Care and Skills for Care to carry out a review identifying the level of digital confidence and digital skills in the sector. The review findings showed a consensus among registered managers and other groups that there are gaps in the digital skills of the workforce.
In April, the Government published Next Steps, which provided an update on the commitment set out in People at the Heart of Care, to develop a comprehensive digital learning offer for the social care sector. We have been developing a number of approaches which deliver on this commitment.
We recently announced our updated digital skills framework. This outlines the digital skills care professionals need. It also gives access to a training database to help employers and staff plan and access digital learning to build relevant, transferable digital skills.
We’ll soon be launching new e-learning courses, a level 5 qualification in adult social care digital leadership and an improved website which will host training and guidance on technology adoption. All of this will complement the wider support package for the adult social care workforce, so that digital skills are embedded in core training and support career development.
We’ve also made some big steps forward to open what were traditionally health-focused learning programmes for social care. This year there are four Topol Digital Fellows from adult social care who were successfully accepted onto the programme.
Plus we are working closely with the NHS Leadership Academy to open up learning opportunities to the sector, a great example being the new Foundations in Systems Leadership; collaborating for health and care programme, which is free.
Additionally, we’re working with the Local Government Association to develop ‘digital confidence and capability’ for the local authority workforce and conduct some exploration into digital, data and technology (DDaT) professionals across adult social care, which will help us scope what is currently happening and where support might be needed in the future.
Now more than ever before, digital skills in the adult social care sector are vital and the support is there at your fingertips, please do take advantage.