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A skills shortage is risking an imminent shortfall in the number of health and social care workers, according to new research published today.

With demand for health and social care services set to soar in coming years, new research shows that a skills shortage could risk a shortfall in workers with the right talents and abilities.

The findings, released by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES), show that two million more workers will need to be trained and recruited by 2022 to meet rising demand.

UKCES highlights how limited opportunities to progress to higher level roles have led to workers leaving the sector, resulting in a poor prognosis in the future for skills in health and social care.

The research also shows a higher than average number of workers in the sector between 50 to 64 years of age and approaching retirement, stressing the the urgent need for more younger people.

More older people are now being cared for in their own homes, with future care needs set to revolve around enabling them to support themselves and live independently.

The report calls on employers to create more training opportunities and increase the options for progression within the sector.

Vicki Belt, Assistant Director at UKCES said: “With medical advancements leading us to live longer, more active lives, the knock on effect is a sharp rise in the need for those who keep us in good health in our later years.

“These findings demonstrate the dramatic extent of this need – health and social care is already the largest sector in the UK, yet to meet the rising need for care we will need to see a 50% increase in the number of people working in these fields.

“However, the problem goes beyond just a need to recruit. Employers must do more to create attractive career pathways through which people can progress, as well as develop training routes which can apply to roles in both health and social care – opening access to all areas the sector.