The UWS study is centred around the concept of ‘decent work’ – opportunities for employment that are productive and deliver a fair income, job security and social protection and prospects for personal development, and how the quality of work impacts on outcomes in social care facilities.
Scotland is home to 176,000 social care workers, accounting for 7% of the workforce – yet delivering ‘decent work’ has long been associated with chronic issues.
Social care work is often poorly paid, frequently part-time or on the basis of zero-hours contracts and can involve unpaid overtime or unpaid training. The pandemic has increased recognition of the fact that social care workers are undervalued and under-recognised, that care institutions have received too little investment, and that care workers have insufficient voice in policy debates about job quality.
The British Academy grant – which was awarded to only 6.6% of more than 800 applicants – will be used to facilitate interviews over the phone and online throughout the month of August.
Dr Gibb added: “The coronavirus pandemic has emphasised many of the long-standing issues which the social care sector faces, and also presented more – and care providers know that things need to change.
“Now is the time to progress beyond the long-established problems such as low pay, lack of career prospects and stressful work, as the biggest stakeholders seek a way forward that creates the best possible outcomes for both those working in the sector and those being cared for.”
Individuals who are keen to share their experience can do so by contacting Joan.Riddell@uws.ac.uk or by visiting the project website.