Youth employment and the struggling social care sector

Who cares? The social care sector and the future of youth employment

The social care sector has been identified as a potential source of job creation for young people by policymakers, however the quality of such employment opportunities requires closer scrutiny. This study reveals how job creation strategies focused upon sectors such as social care which have high levels of employment insecurity can contribute towards reinforcing patterns of precarious work across Europe. Drawing upon research involving young people and representatives from the sector, this study argues that while attracting new employees is a worthy objective, the capacity of the social care sector to offer secure employment for young people is questionable. Abstract from the research

When you have a population living longer and requiring personal care for many years to come it can seem logical that there is a future in that sector for a new generation of young workers. However, there is a risk that the prospect of potential employment for young people eclipses an awareness of the quality of work available in that sector. The research published in Policy and Politics explores the actual potential of the social care sector in the UK to offer good quality career pathways for young people. It finds an environment shaped by a contradiction – that the sector is forecasting growing demand for care services well into the next decade whilst simultaneously warning about the impact of spending cuts.

The Discover Society website covers a range of articles, viewpoints and more, including a section on ‘Policy and Politics’. The latter is provided in collaboration with the journal of ‘Policy & Politics’ and contains a recent article exploring the potential of the UK social care sector to offer good quality career pathways for young people. The research does not provide any easy answers, concluding that a crucial starting point for policymakers is that the core values of dignity and respect should not only be central to the care provided but should also be central to the employment conditions offered to those working in the sector.

Discover Society is published by Social Research Publications, a not-for-profit collaboration between sociology and social policy academics and publishers at Policy Press to promote the publication of social research, commentary and policy analysis. The articles it publishes express the opinions of the authors and not those of Discover Society.

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