Borderers asked to consider careers in social care and relief work opportunities

Older person being served soup by a younger person in a dining room

Published: Thursday, 20th January 2022

We're keen to hear from anyone either willing to consider a career in social care or to get trained as relief staff, to assist at particular times of pressure.

The appeal comes as the impact of the Omicron variant on health and social care services continues to be felt across the Borders. 

Social care services across the Borders are experiencing significant challenges due to:

  • COVID-19 cases
  • other staff absences
  • recruitment challenges

These have been exacerbated by the increased COVID-19 cases brought about by the highly transmissible Omicron variant. This reflects the national picture, and although COVID-19 case numbers are now starting to fall, it is likely that it will take some time for the pressures to ease.

Contingency plans are in place but more support is needed

We have been developing contingency plans to make sure services continue to be delivered if the situation worsens in the short term, or if there is a further spike in staff absences in the future. This includes the option to deploy staff from less critical tasks if necessary, however all options are being explored.

Additional hours have been offered to Council staff from other departments who have capacity to support social care, while Borders College social care students have been approached and a number are shortly to undergo training to support services if necessary, whilst also continuing their studies. An appeal has also been shared across the public and third sector members of the Scottish Borders Community Planning Partnership.

Could you work in social care?

We are now asking those seeking employment, whether that be a change in career or simply some additional hours of work, to consider social care as an option. This includes those who would be willing to be trained and then form part of a pool of relief staff.

Councillor Mark Rowley, SBC Leader

“Services have been able to manage the impact of Omicron so far but we can’t be complacent, particularly when it comes to the delivery of critical services and support for the vulnerable in our communities, both in the short-term and in the weeks and months ahead.

“As has been the case throughout the pandemic, we have been trying to prepare as much as possible for all eventualities, and the work we’re doing to identify additional staff to support social care now is part of that preparation. There are great social care career opportunities available, as well as the chance to get the training needed to work as a relief support worker and pick up shifts as and when needed.

“It takes about two weeks to get people trained and PVG checked before they can work as a support worker, so we’re keen to get people through that process so they’re available and ready to go should the need arise. Having a reserve of staff we can call on makes good sense even in normal circumstances as there are always times of additional pressure in the service, particularly in the winter months.

“If anyone is interested we would ask that they contact our HR team on; askhr@scotborders.gov.uk.”

A number of opportunities are available

Anyone willing to be trained to be a relief support worker will be offered the same rate as permanent staff, starting at £10.52/hour. Training will be provided through online learning and face-to-face sessions and there will be opportunities to shadow qualified carers. The types of tasks undertaken by a support worker include:

  • supporting, enabling and involving clients in all aspects of their lives, including personal hygiene, eating, drinking and mobility
  • working as part of a team
  • having good communication skills to support liaison with clients, staff and other carers/families

As well as the relief support worker appeal, we have number of other opportunities across our social care service. Benefits of working with us include:

  • excellent terms and conditions
  • comprehensive training
  • all staff, including home care workers, are paid for a full shift
  • starting salary of over £10 per hour
  • up to 33 days annual leave
  • membership of the Local Government Pension Scheme
  • wide-ranging staff benefits package

More information is available from the jobs section of our website or by emailing: askhr@scotborders.gov.uk