PLANS for a new academy to address the growing need for a highly trained, professional and sustainable workforce within the Outer Hebrides care sector are being developed by Lews Castle College UHI.

The plans will assist with education and training in the care sector set against increasing demand and a growing elderly population.

According to the Outer Hebrides Community Planning Partnership 2017 it is anticipated that 31.1 % of island inhabitants will be aged sixty-five and over by 2028. This suggests a significant impact for health and social care provision across the Islands.

The Academy will bring together private care providers, local authority, health board, agencies, and voluntary organisations led by Lews Castle College UHI to create education tailored for the workplace and high quality jobs.

Lews Castle College UHI affirm the following commitments:

  • We will establish a partnership with the Health and Social Care sector, working together to provide caregivers qualifications locally.
  • We will work with our partners to ensure agencies and caregivers provide the highest standards of care.
  • We will respond to suggestions for courses that meet our partners’ needs.
  • We will strengthen our links with agencies to provide local Further Education (FE) and Higher Education (HE) learners with continued work placement opportunities in order to enhance their employability.
  • We will work cooperatively to achieve a strong, sustainable, integrated workforce and address the skills gap.

Sheila MacLennan, Assistant Principal said: “We’ve set up the Care Academy to strengthen our understanding of the needs of our partners and align our curriculum with the local care employers’ requirements. We can offer bespoke courses, work based learning and continuous professional development opportunities.

“The Health Department at Lews Castle College UHI has a long history of preparing students for employment in local health and social care settings. We value our relationships with the sector and the structured placement systems which our partners agree can be further developed.”

Donnie Macdonald, Head of Health said: “We are working with our partners to support young people into apprenticeships and career pathways.

“We also want to attract more men into the care sector and life changers into what is often referred to as an older workforce.

“The Outer Hebrides Care Academy will act as a hub for employers and we are delighted with our partners’ enthusiasm to take this exciting new venture forward.”