Care professions in the spotlight as frontline heroes provide inspiration to new recruits

June 2, 2020

The importance of the care professions has never been in sharper focus. As appreciation for those on the frontline grows, already attention is turning to attracting the next wave of carers to a sector brought into the spotlight during unprecedented times.

From healthcare teams in the NHS to social care professionals providing vital support and childcare practitioners enabling key workers to carry out their duties, the regional and national response to Coronavirus has been built upon the knowledge, expertise and dedication of previously unsung heroes.

Clap For Our Carers has created a weekly celebration and opportunity for the public to show their appreciation – as well as providing inspiration for those determined to play their part by joining the care professions.

North East Scotland College has a long-standing association with the sector and is preparing to cater for renewed demand when it welcomes its next intake of students after the summer break.

Robert Laird, Head of Faculty for Care Professions at NESCol’s City Campus in Aberdeen, said: “Applications for the 2020/21 academic year remain open and we’re seeing interest across the full range of our care courses. The deserved recognition the care professions have been getting in recent months offers real encouragement for anyone considering a career in this field.

“We know that carers aren’t motivated by the type of attention there has been in recent months, but anything that helps to recognise the incredible contribution being made is very welcome and can only be positive for the care professions.”

The challenges faced by carers have also been the subject of intense scrutiny during the Coronavirus response. That has not dented the enthusiasm of the current NESCol cohort or those who plan to join the College after the summer.

Robert added: “Care professionals are very special people and choose to dedicate themselves to helping others. Of course the current situation has brought a different perspective on the reality of a career in the sector, but it has also shown the hugely positive impact carers have and the important role they play.

“Around 40 of our current students joined the list of volunteers when the NHS made its appeal early in the Coronavirus response and others, who were on placements in the health service, have taken up roles as health support workers to join the effort. We’re very proud of the students who have stepped up in that way and it typifies the spirit of our carers.”

NESCol’s class of 2020 ranges from school pupils taking their first steps into the caring professions through to adult returners retraining in child, health and social care.  Students planning to articulate to university will continue their studies and work towards careers in nursing, social work, childhood practice and other disciplines.

Steve Harbert, who has care as a key part of his remit as a Head of Faculty at the College’s Fraserburgh Campus, said: “We have fantastic success stories in all of the care professions and we look forward to welcoming the next group of students later in the year.

“Of course, it will be a different year for everyone at College as we follow the national guidance but we have already demonstrated the ability to adapt and to deliver learning and teaching in new ways. Planning is well underway and the focus on providing an engaging and nurturing environment has not changed.

“The circumstances this year shouldn’t put anyone off applying or planning for the future. Demand for new recruits across the care sector has traditionally outstripped supply and we fully expect employment opportunities to remain strong in the months and years ahead.”

Throughout this week NESCol is turning the focus on care, with a programme including a virtual open session on Wednesday (3 June) to provide guidance to prospective students and an online application workshop on Friday (5 June).

The College has continued to innovate in its course delivery, responding to increased requirements in areas such as early years provision in addition to offering qualifications for those studying English as a second language in tandem with gaining care qualifications.

Robert Laird said: “Our emphasis is very much on the long-term career opportunities there are in the care professions. In early years in particular we are seeing very clear and appealing pathways opening up, with the chance for progression. Healthcare has well-established routes to progress, whether in work or for College students wishing to move on to university, and there are very promising signs that the structures in social care are developing. The care sector continues to evolve and NESCol is committed to being at the heart of what are very positive changes.

“The College is planning ahead and is keen to add to its database of placement providers.  Placement gives our students the opportunity to put theory into practice, and enhances their employability skills.”

Although NESCol facilities are currently closed, the College’s work is continuing and thousands of hours of online classes are being delivered each week.

Applications are being accepted for 2020/21 courses starting in the new academic year and a full range of support services continue to be offered to existing students. Further advice for students and applicants is available at or through the Student Advice Centre team by email at .