Health and Social Care Task Group minutes: 1 February 2024

Health and Social Care Task Group minutes: 1 February 2024

Meeting details

Health and Social Care Task Group Meeting

Held on Thursday 1st February 2024 at 09:30-11:00

Online only, MS Teams

Attendees and apologies

Attendee initials and name followed by Organisation


Andrew Pritchard

Bexhill College


Donna Harfield

East Sussex College Group


Elaine Gausden

Bexhill College


Emma Hawkes

Head of Curriculum, ESCG Lewes


Gill Ramsay

East Sussex College Group


Geraldine Turton

University of Brighton


Holly Aquilina

East Sussex County Council


Hannah Roberts

NHS Sussex Health and Care Partnership


Ian Whittle

REED in Partnership


Justine Willoughby

University of Brighton


Jennie Cole

East Sussex Careers Hub


Jenny Stevens

NHS England South East


Katharine Ball

Rewards Business and Management Consultant


Kathy Martyn

University of Brighton, CHAIR


Kevin Murphy

Brighton & Hove City Council


Lisa Mitchell

Brighton & Hove City Council Adult Social Care


Mike Derrick

Oakdown House


Marie Hockley

Community pharmacy


Penny Lawlor

Kent County Council


Rose Miller

NHS Integrated Care Board


Sue Appleby



Teresa Moon

ASCH Qualifications Lead



Hannah Brookshaw

ESCC, Partnerships & Projects Manager


Laura Collier

ESCC, Senior Business Administrator



Ann Flynn

Open University


Claire Pasquil

Sussex Innovation Centre


Deborah Wilson

NHS Sussex Workforce Education Team


Debbe Wordley

Sussex Housing & Care


Emily Hollywood

Open University


Frances Highton

ESCC Adult Social Care


Heather Green

Department for Work & Pensions


Jon Borthwick

WSCC Adult Social Care


Jill Durrant

Chichester University


Jane Hurt

Department for Work and Pensions


Judith Marsden

West Sussex County Council


Karen Milligan

Care UK


Karen Stevens

Skills for Care


Lisa Mobbs

West Sussex Careers Hub


Mike Fisher

St Wilfred Hospice, Eastbourne


Nita Muir

Chichester University


Nicci Stringer

West Sussex County Council Adult Social Care


Paul Price-Hazelhurst

Heathercroft Training


Rob Brooks

Health Education England, NHS England


Sara Lewis



Sarah Russell



Zoe Rushton

A1 Quality Home Care

Actions arising from this meeting




Action 1: HR to send KMa some information ahead of the June meeting with a view to Matt Holmes presenting on ICB work.

ICB supported apprenticeships/placements to be included on the next agenda


Before June meeting

Action 2: HB and KMa to meet to review the action plan and add outcomes.


By Next meeting

Action 3 (hold over from previous meeting): GR to check if there is any work being done on grouping employers together to provide T-Level work placements


By next meeting

1. Welcome (new members)

KMa welcomed all in attendance. It was noted that due to the Pan-Sussex nature of the group, online meetings are more practical than face-to-face. However, this will be reviewed later in the year to understand if a face-to-face would be welcomed.

2. Review of Previous Minutes & Actions

No matters arising. Minutes from last meeting agreed.

Action 1: HB to investigate inviting a representative from the pharmacy subgroup to join the Allied Health professionals Apprenticeship Group – ongoing.

Action 2: Pharmacy subgroup work to continue through this task group – ongoing.

Action 3: GR to check if there is any work being done on grouping employers together to provide T-Level work placements – to be held over until the next meeting.

Action 4: HB to contact Bexhill College to find out more about the skills gap in the Health & Social Care T-Level – AP to cover today via agenda item 4.

Action 5: ALL to send ideas for the next agenda/2024 action plan to Skills East Sussex – action plan to be drafted based on discussions at today’s meeting.

3. Skills East Sussex (SES) Board – January meeting summary

HB provided a summary of what was discussed at the last Skills East Sussex Board meeting:

  • Defunding vocational qualifications – to be covered in detail under item 4.
  • Update on DESNZ Retrofit Skills Plan funding bid, which was recently secured to support tutor recruitment and business to access training. Final approval on the Retrofit Skills Plan awaited.
  • Update on future skills research in East Sussex – compared East Sussex research with current national/international thought leaders thinking – item to be covered in more detail later in the meeting.
  • Forward plan items include: DWP will present on current migration from tax credit to Universal Credit, which will lead to a great number of clients being available for work/jobs, Integrated Care Board – NHS skills and employment, health and wellbeing - anchor institution role – Dee Humphries.

4. Health and Social care mapping & gaps

AP led a discussion on the defunding of BTECs and rolling out of T-Levels. T-Levels are a valuable qualification and positive addition; however they offer a narrower qualification compared to BTECs. For example, T-Level placements have specific requirements that makes it challenges to use non-nursing care settings. This will likely limit the number of employers that can be used. Concern for pathways for students who would have undertaken BTECs going forward, what suitable pathway will be available, what can be done for that cohort? Is there a T-Level transition programme?

EH reported that ESC are looking at the same issues. They are planning to extend the Level 2 course with a second, transition year, including GCSE Science, Maths and English to support T-Level readiness. However, this pathway won’t be suitable for all so apprenticeships are an alternative route.

VP suggested that employability skills of individuals should be considered as some need transitional support. HR advised that ICB have an industry co-ordinator, Matt Holmes, who supports colleges to expand the breadth of placements available. HR suggested that Matt join this group.

MD expressed disappointment that the T-Level route is closing to nursing homes which will affect 75% of the workforce. This needs to be made very clear to people applying to those courses. Oakdown House take direct entry without apprenticeships.

EG explained that students’ experiences are all different and this is something that needs to be worked on.

KMa put details in the chat of how the University of Brighton supports people in care homes about standards of provision and shared a link to the Queen’s Nursing Institute. It needs to be recognised that there is a lot of social care happening in residential homes. They need to be involved in the workforce and supporting education. People need to be supported to come together and raise standards around education and preparing the future workforce. There is also some NHS guidance about delegation of duties. There are 300 care home places which would be a great loss to the sector if people cannot be supported to go into that area.

It was a DfE decision to replace BTECs so colleges have little control over this. Colleges need to adapt and perhaps look at Level 2 provision, to use those settings to get directly into the workplace.

JC raised the concern around people with SEND and what they can access. Removal of BTECs widens the gaps. Supported apprenticeships should perhaps be put on future agendas. Care home and NHS roles could be suited to this.

ESCG has a Level 2 course which helps bridge some of the gap to BTEC. Concerns are shared over lack of opportunities. It is about how to use what we have and how we work with employers.

AP explained that extensive lobbying has been happening. The government has recently suggested a new AAQ qualification which would lead to the same accessibility issues as the AAQ would need to be taken alongside A-Levels. T-Levels, A-Levels and apprenticeships will be the future route into work. Colleges are keen that the future involves employers at all stages.

Colleges are providing SES with data on numbers of people on specific T-Level courses. Analysis is being done on the number of people entering and taking specific courses to see if there is a decrease. The purpose is for SES to lobby to see if there are vocational pathways missing as part of the changes. SES will feedback to all task groups.

KB suggested that the ‘skills for healthcare’ certificate could be thought of differently. It is embedded in the Level 2 apprenticeship but can be done standalone without funding. MD reported that the government has just announced a small amount of funding to support the rollout of the Level 2 care certificate. The plan is to replace the existing Level 2 with a Level 2 care certificate which can be transferred between care settings in the NHS. This will be the primary entry route for people working in social care.

Maths and English are barriers with apprenticeships. Nationally, care apprenticeships have the worst achievement rates and some colleges have completely withdrawn from this offer. When people do achieve, they tend to get very good grades. Employers need to see that apprenticeships are not a quick staffing solution; they are a long-term training programme. The need for off-job learning is a common theme with all apprenticeships. It was suggested that the group look at how it works with employers to reiterate this. Employers need to realise that young people do not necessarily stay in the same job.

RM suggested looking at retention rate to find out the reasons for apprentices not achieving.

MD summarised that the overall picture is that there is no requirement to have a qualification in the sector so there is no real driver.

Action 1:

HR to send KMa some information ahead of the next meeting with a view to Matt Holmes presenting on ICB work.

ICB supported apprenticeships/placements to be included on the next agenda

5. Future skills – what are they/what is the impact to the sector

HA shared an item presented at the most recent Skills East Sussex (SES) board around Future Skills research and recent thought leaders thinking on future skills needs, particularly around AI and automation. (presentation shared with the minutes). Key questions:

  • Do we have a good understanding of future skills need?
  • Are we able to change and adapt (at pace)?
  • What are the obstacles?
  • What do we need to do for our local communities?


Research shows that education and health care will be big growth sectors in the next decade, although there was some disagreement on this at a local level. Research shows a 9.7% increase in the number of people working in care service occupations. Research also suggests that 23% of jobs will change in the next 5 years due to automation. Traditional jobs such as clerks and admin roles are likely to be automated but new roles will emerge. Part-time workers are most likely to be affected by automation. This could lead to inequalities but could also open opportunities on where we can recruit from in future. Humancentric roles will be protected against change so health & social care will offer job security but will still need to adapt to new technologies. We need to consider that new technology and AI won’t replace our workforce, but our workforce will need to develop new skills. These need to be factored into training provision. Skills that employers are looking for continue to change; people need to constantly upskill. What does the sector need to do to address the challenges of the future skills picture?

ESCG is already engaged in dialogue about how to respond to this. There needs to be more uptake of employers. ESCG runs the employer exchange. It has chosen health & social care as one of the main sectors to invest in, this will include state of the art facilities to provide a better learning environment. There is already a simulation suite at the college and they are also investing in an anatomage table which will help with digital innovation. Employers can gain a lot by working with local colleges and gain access to these types of facilities.

KMa stated that we know AI use is going to be increasing in health & social care provision. The pace of change is rapid. It is important at each level of provision that the potential workforce is equipped with these developments. More work is needed so that young people are confident with their digital skills at an early level.

Teachers also need to be aware of these developments and be helped to upskill. Teacher training developments can be explored in this sector. There is a tutor encounters training session planned for 9 July.

HA suggested a campaign to target the future workforce on the reduced availability of some health & social care jobs. Are we seeing people lose employment in flexible/part-time roles and should those people be targeted to move into other areas?

IW agreed that the workplace is changing. One of the big challenges for over 50’s is IT awareness.

KMa has noticed that there is a confidence gap in young people between social media technology and learning technology. It should not be assumed that young people are confident with all technology. This could be another piece of work.

MD shared a link to the Sussex Digital In-Reach Team who support digital programmes for social care providers in East Sussex/Brighton & Hove. 80% of social care providers are involved so it would be helpful to link in.

6. Health and Social Care action plan development session

HB shared the draft action plan which is split into 4 areas:


  • Increasing the visibility of the sector as a career choice for young people or those re-entering employment/looking for a career change
  • AI/automation/new technologies
  • Employer engagement
  • Defunding of vocational pathways


Sustainability also needs to be considered.


Action 2: HB and KMa to meet to review the action plan and add outcomes.

7. AOB/Date of Next Meeting/agenda items

KB asked people to contact her if they know anyone that could support upskilling some trainers with Level 5 pathway (children).

Next meeting is 16 April. A number of agenda items have been agreed through this meeting.