Introducing the Role of the Workforce Project Officer for Learning Disabilities and Mental Health

The What, The How & The Why

Introducing the role of the workforce project officer for Learning Disabilities and Mental Health. The What the how and the why. Written by Paul Kirrage. Image of Paul and Penny bottom left

My Name is Paul Kirrage and my job title is Workforce Project Officer for Learning Disabilities and Mental Health. My role is based within the Design and Learning Centre and I work closely with my colleague Penny Lawlor, who covers Older People and Physical Disabilities for the sector.

The What: What is the role of Workforce Project Officer for Learning Disabilities and Mental Health

The role of Workforce project officer is to assist the Adult Social Care providers in workforce related issues.  This could be:

  • Recruitment difficulties
  • Issues relating to retention of employees
  • Training and skills gaps.
  • Sector support mechanisms and social prescribing.

My role allows me to work across a variety of different projects across the LD/MH sectors.

Some of the projects and events that I am able to support with are:

  • The Kent Registered Managers Conference held bi-annually.
  • Leading on the Workforce plan for the Transforming Care agenda for Kent and Medway through the Sustainability and Transformation Plan.
  • Part of the working group to produce the Kent, Surry and Sussex Forensic Framework.
  • Part of the Neurodevelopmental Workforce development group.
  • My latest project revolves around mapping and understand the perceived Mental Health knowledge/support gap with in Health and Care.

As well as various other smaller projects to support the sector.

Group shot of attendees from the Care Sector Conference around tables in the main hall.
Left gentleman and right a carer

The How? How does my role engage with the Care Sector?

A large part of my role is to engage with the sector to understand the day to day working issues that can affect the workforce.  There are several ways we look to engage with the sector:

  • Monthly sector newsletters – We try to bring together the latest sector news and resources that will benefit the care sector.
  • Attending Manager network groups and forums – Skills for Care, Kent County Council and Clinical Commissioning Groups organise network meetings and forums that I attend to update the sector.
  • Kent registered managers conference – This is held twice yearly to update the sector and bring information to a wide audience. We also have stands from suppliers and sector specific resources to help Managers with information and understanding what is on offer.
  • Design and Learning Centre “The Hub” page – Within the Design and Learning Centre website we have our Hub pages which bring together information, resources, news and training opportunities that can benefit the sector.

The Why? Why do we need to have this job role?

 The Social Care sector is growing faster than we can seem to keep up with.  More people are living longer with more complex conditions than ever before.

We also understand that the Care sector can have individual issues that affect service providers in differing ways. This is why my role focuses more on the learning disabilities and Mental Health services.  

There is also a large predicted shortfall in workforce within the whole of the care sector.  My role is to help understand the issues around this and do what we can within Kent to minimise the effects.

We work with many sector partners.  This allows us to make sure the issues brought up by managers are clearly heard across the health and Care sector.

If you are not signed up to our monthly newsletter or if you want any support as a learning disabilities or Mental Health provider, please contact me [email protected]

To find out more about the Design and Learning Centre and our work visit our website.

Follow us @KentDLC

Left Paul Kirrage and right Penny Lawlor