Online carer support network helps older people receive 'Shared lives' community care
A UK network for programs run through local authorities that assist disabled and vulnerable people by offering family-based accommodation, care and support is using online tools to help thousands of people keep their independence. Members of the Shared Lives Plus network - run by NAAPS (originally the National Association of Adult Placement Schemes) - include Shared Lives carers and workers, Homeshare programmes and micro-enterprises. Care can be provided in all kinds of homes and family settings. There is training and police checking but no formal qualification required. Shared Lives carers receive an allowance, face-to-face support and online support through a members-only area of the network's website which includes a document library and a private social network and discussion forum, facilitating peer-to-peer support. Councils currently operate or commission 120 local "Shared Lives" schemes which match 9,600 disabled, vulnerable and older people with more than 6,700 carers in their community. The level of care can vary from regular visits to day and overnight support. Others provide long-term care to someone who moves in with the carer and lives as part of the family. Recent studies have shown that Shared Lives could provide savings of up to £147.5 million if all areas worked as well as the best performing schemes in the country by reducing reliance on residential or nursing care, the organisation says. Alex Fox, CEO of Shared Lives, said: "Shared Lives is a way in which people can enjoy all of the benefits of family and community life, whilst receiving a high level of care from a CQC regulated service. There is a scheme in nearly every area but still few people are offered Shared Lives, despite some schemes demonstrating that it can be used by people of all ages who have learning disabilities, mental health problems, dementia and who need post-hospital care.
Pictured: The Shared Lives Plus home page.
Shared Lives Plus: www.sharedlivesplus.org.uk
Digital skills are key to employment, BCS survey finds
Only 52% of employers believe their workforce has the digital skills to meet their future challenges, according to a survey by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT. The institute's survey of HR professionals and employers showed that email, word processing and spreadsheet skills are considered necessary for the majority of roles in the work place. Jon Buttriss, chief executive of BCS Learning and Development said: "Our survey shows how important it is to be able to operate a PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone to be successful in today's work environment. Today, almost every job relies on some aspect of technology whether it's sitting at a PC in an office, working at a checkout or delivering parcels." However, it's not just word processing, spread sheets and data manipulation that are in demand. The survey shows that social media skills are also rated as important for the majority of roles (71% of respondents rating them as very or quite important). The institute has today launched a campaign working with IT qualification providers and trainers across the UK to help people gain the skills they need.
IT Skills for Employment: www.bcs.org/skillsforemployment
IT sector sees small rise in attractiveness as employer, survey finds
The IT sector has recovered some of its attractiveness as an employer after a fall last year, though it still lags behind its peak in 2011, according to IT recruitment agency Randstad Technologies. The company's survey of more than 9,000 British adults recorded an increase in the perceived attractiveness of IT sector as an employer over the past 12 months, to 28%. In a similar poll carried out in 2013, of respondents who know one or more companies operating in the sector, just 26 per cent of those interviewed said IT was an attractive industry to work in. The resurgence of the sector goes some way to cancelling out the damage done to its reputation after higher results in 2011 and 2012 when 34 per cent and 31 per cent of people described it as an attractive sector to work in, the company says. Mike Beresford, MD of Randstad Technologies said: "The reputation of IT as a career was extremely high in 2011. The constant rise of social networking and the idea of making billions from a new internet venture had never seemed so real." The subsequent drop followed negative coverage of stories such as a hack of Sony's PlayStation Network and a week-long Blackberry network outage, Beresford said. However recent coverage of huge successes for small firms and individuals in the mobile apps market have helped increase prospective employee interest once more, he said.
Randstad Technologies: www.randstad.co.uk/technologies/