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The ‘J’ word; improving digital skills
across social care

Diane BudderyProgramme Head, Sector Digital.

The word ‘Journey’ is an over used one; on TV, every person learning to do something new is described as being on ‘a journey’, gasping at their newly found skills and shining with pride. At Skills for Care, we understand the fundamental difference learning and development make to confidence, competence and quality of care; a journey of learning can be life changing to ourselves and those that we support.


In terms of digital working, and however overused the term is, social care and it’s workforce really have been on a journey. Only 5 years ago, digital ways of working and the use of technology was rare within the sector. Conferences showcased the rare minority who had integrated technology with great affect, had engaged and skilled staff and most of the sector admired from afar.

Though the change had begun before this last year, COVID19 has sped up the need to engage tremendously. Overnight, those that were digitally ‘mature’ found themselves ahead of the game in what became a virtual world. Those that were not, with staff that were not confident or skilled, found themselves in a bewildering world.

However, the pandemic has also enabled us to see that the journey towards a more digital way of working is one we need to make, as it brings real rewards. With this increased certainty, Skills for Care are working with NHSx to lead a piece of work to articulate the vision for the sc workforce; working with partners from across the sector including TSA, to set out what we all believe the sc workforce should be able to do and how, and the elements that need to be in place to get to this. So a map for a Journey (if you will forgive the overuse of the word!).

We already understand what some of these elements may be and so to support progress along this road, Skills for Careare working to;

  • ensure organisations have clarity about digital leadership (role and remit),
  • understand digital skills and what these mean in social care,
  • why these are needed and what organisations can do to identify digital leaders and support the development of digital skills.

We plan to do all we can to support the growth of learning opportunities for those working in the sector, both via the use and support of ‘digital champions’ but also by supporting the growth of other types of learning.

Meanwhile, Skills for Care is partnering with Ipsos Mori and IPC Oxford Brookes to research and deliver for NHSx a review of digital skills across the sector in order to establish a baseline of the digital capability and skill of the care workforce, future need and the types of digital Learning and Development needed. Due to be completed by June ‘21, these findings will further steer our activities to support the vision for the sector by identifying gaps and needs.

It’s a moment of real change for the sector. Going back to how things were is not an option; where we find evidence of improvement of care, efficiency and empowerment via the use of technology we should grasp this opportunity. We want to make sure no one is left behind and we move forward together on the ‘digital social care’ workforce journey. Please do join us…


Diane Buddery
Programme Head, Sector Digital.

Skills for Care


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