Building the social care workforce of the future in East London

Featured article - 14 October 2016
By Corporate Partnerships Manager, Jasmine Morris; Bromley by Bow Centre

Head-shot of the author, Corporate Partnerships Manager, Jasmine Morris; Bromley by Bow Centre

“A two-way street is a street that allows vehicles to travel in both directions”. Pretty obvious stuff; it’s hardly a lightbulb moment when you look up the phrase ‘Two Way Street’ on Wikipedia.

But I can’t think of a better way of describing a quiet revolution going on in East London. Our initiative, Two Way Street, supports people living in Tower Hamlets, Hackney or Newham who are distanced from the workplace, supporting them to become ‘work-ready’ with access to sustained employment in health and social care jobs.

Last month we were invited to present on our new pre-employment programme, Two Way Street, at a SCIE event focused on the future social care workforce. Two Way Street is an exciting pilot programme delivered by us at the Bromley by Bow Centre in partnership with JPMorgan Chase Foundation.

The project has a particular focus on supporting men and those over 50: These groups are often under-represented within the health and social care sector within East London. The project not only wants to support people to access employment, but also so that the local care that’s on offer in East London can improve and in turn help to improve the lives of people who need care and support locally.

Key elements of the Two Way Street programme include:

  • Workshops exploring what it is to be cared for. This looks at the experience of people receiving care and support
  • Workplace visits. Sharing personal career stories, showing how they’ve progressed with opportunities and encouraging the future workforce
  • Employability skills development. Building a strong CV, interview techniques, networking skills and workplace skills like team working
  • Life coaching and resilience training. Addressing the ever-increasing change and pressure in the sector, managing stress and the emotional impact that the work can have
  • Industry-focused careers guidance. Group sessions on training and job / apprenticeship opportunities
  • Accreditations including; awareness of mental health problems, equality/diversity, safeguarding/dignity, health and safety, and first aid.

Our pilot will work closely with local social care employers to develop a workforce who share their values, are resilient and are passionate about the sector. We will also act as advocates, campaigning for minimum hour contracts and the London Living Wage within the sector. We want to ensure that we are supporting our clients into sustainable and fair employment, which we believe will lead to a happier workforce and increased retention.

We’re proud and excited about our own Two Way Street and look forward to engaging with the groups who don’t normally work in health and social care, so that they can provide great care and support to the people in East London who need it.

The Bromley by Bow Centre is a community organisation based in one of the UK’s most deprived boroughs, Tower Hamlets. The mission is to enable people to be well and live life to the full in a vibrant community.

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