A Lanarkshire-wide care academy has been praised by South Lanarkshire councillors.
The Lanarkshire Care Academy was discussed at the Social Work Resources Committee meeting earlier this week and was welcomed by elected members.
The Care Academy will be developed in collaboration between South Lanarkshire Council, North Lanarkshire Council and NHS Lanarkshire.
It is being progressed to provide a mechanism to further coordinate the activity of partners throughout Lanarkshire with the aim of increasing the number of staff entering the Social Care and Health Care workforce.
The intention is to allow the council and key partners to better address recruitment challenges and enhance capacity to meet increasing demands for services.
The Care Academy will be progressed on a pan-Lanarkshire basis to build on existing and growing effective co-operation between both South Lanarkshire and North Lanarkshire Health and Social Care Partnerships.
Councillor Eileen Logan (Clydesdale West), said the plans could be one of the best things the council has been involved in.
She said: “We’ve got a nice wee golden nugget here and I think this is one of the best things that we will undertake and I’m so pleased that it is going to be pan-Lanarkshire.
"Some of us actually live sitting nearly on the North Lanarkshire border, some of our children actually go to North Lanarkshire schools. So pan-Lanarkshire is good as it is actually encapsulating everywhere and everyone.
“For a long time and probably still, social care and social work hasn’t really been high on people’s agendas, so to have Foundation Apprenticeships or Modern Apprenticeships and all the various things, this is where we have to capture youth coming through to bulk up our workforces and I think it’s an excellent way to do it.”
There is already a Care Academy in place for North Lanarkshire, and the plan is for that arrangement to be extended and developed on a Lanarkshire-wide basis to streamline engagement with partners, share learning and allow a more structured approach to be established for South Lanarkshire.
And South Lanarkshire Council already has a range of initiatives which will fit into and enhance the Lanarkshire Care Academy.
That includes Modern Apprenticeships, a GradU8 programme, Professional Apprentices, links with colleges and employability support from the council.
Work is underway on the memorandum of understanding between North and South Lanarkshire Councils and NHS Lanarkshire to formalise the Lanarkshire-wide Care Academy.
A steering group is in place and has identified three foundation work streams within which South Lanarkshire Council will be represented: Developing the Youth Workforce, Employability and Inclusion, Recruitment, Attraction and Retention.
Councillor Alex Allison (Clydesdale East) questioned the accessibility of the Care Academy.
He said: “I agree with the importance of this academy. What I’d maybe like to hear more about is how it is going to operate; is it an online learning experience or is it based in Hamilton or where is it based?
"Because one of the concerns I would have is a lack of access from my own ward in part but in the East, South and West of South Lanarkshire in general, there are insufficient links in transport to be able to access the central areas.”
There will be a number of places across the authority and in North Lanarkshire that link into learning.
A lot of the learning in gaining professional qualifications is done on the job and there are other various ways people can access the learning.
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