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A career in care leadership

Dr Mark Redmond, a senior lecturer in health and social care at the University of Gloucestershire, has become a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts (RSA).

The Royal Society for the Arts is committed to supporting individuals, communities and institutions in leading change towards an equal and flourishing society; Dr Redmond’s fellowship is in recognition of his contribution to research in social care.

While this accolade is based upon Dr Redmond’s academic work, his passion and knowledge is very much rooted in the business of delivering frontline services.

Since joining the care profession nearly 30 years ago, Dr Redmond has managed charities, private businesses and led teams of staff ranging from 6 to 300. Since joining the university in 2015, Mark has been instrumental in setting up its higher apprenticeship in care, which he sees as key to the growth and sustainability of this increasingly stretched sector.

Dr Redmond said: “We all know that the social care sector is under greater pressure than ever and that finding affordable strategies for managing future demand is paramount.

Something that I am passionate about is developing skills for the sector, from within the sector. All too often, when care providers come under pressure, the default response is to look for additional capability from ‘elsewhere’ – not just from other care organisations but from other professions, such as nursing and social work.

While there is always a place and case for the cross-pollination of good ideas and best practice, our overreliance on this does a huge disservice to the talent, knowledge and dedication already available across the care profession.

Social care is only just beginning to mature and develop into its own unique practice area – allied in some ways to both health and social work, but also distinct. 

In my opinion effective social care leadership can come from within and, what’s more, tapping into this resource will result in better services than if we continue to parachute in skills from other professions.

Those with a background in care have an understanding of the intricacies of the sector, the culture that underpins it and how improvement can be delivered. However, perhaps most importantly, they have ‘earned the right’ to challenge and have the knowledge to make the right changes. 

Through our higher apprenticeship in care leadership and management we are providing a route for that internal development and we are creating opportunities for talented individuals to thrive.  Moreover, it will also help the care providers we are working with retain their talent and recruit the best people – something that is important to any business, in any sector.”   

The RSA was founded in 1754 and in becoming a fellow, Dr Redmond joins the ranks of some big names, including Benjamin Franklin, Stephen Hawking and Tim Berners-Lee. The University of Gloucestershire is delighted that its higher apprenticeship in care leadership and management will give him the opportunity to extend his expertise to the next generation of care leaders.

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