Workforce development

Over 3 million people work in the health and social care sector in England. This is over 10% of the working population. Over half of the current workforce will still be of working age in 2035. People joining the workforce today may still be part of it in 2050, or even 2060.

A sustainable health, public health and social care system in 20 years time may require a workforce with very different skills and culture.

The involvement of long term workforce planners and commissioners will be vital to the effective implementation of a more sustainable future. It is also important that those modelling future workforce requirements understand and account for the risks posed by a changing climate, potential resource constraints and other environmental factors.

Organisations can also take action today. By adopting best employment practices, organisations can directly benefit a significant number of people, families and partner organisations locally. This can also act as a catalyst for wider societal change.

Integrating principles of sustainable development into organisational and staff development processes (such as recruitment, induction, staff training, appraisals and reward schemes) ensures the workforce have the required knowledge and competence to deliver improved
sustainability performance. This will help create a shift to a more sustainable system.

Bodies and agencies responsible for setting standards in training and practice may wish to start considering how sustainability is appropriately addressed for different professional groups and included in their curricula.