Mar 20

Open letter welcoming our new CEO

Posted: 4 March 2020

In August 2019, I wrote an open letter to my future CEO for Skills for Care.

I shared my thoughts about the attributes that I would like my new CEO to have and which I think are needed to lead Skills for Care. From my experience of undertaking the role as Interim CEO, I recognise that being the CEO in these difficult times for social care is of vital importance, as Skills for Care plays a key role in supporting the 18,500 organisations and the 1.49 million strong social care workforce to meet a range of workforce challenges.

You will be aware that after a rigorous recruitment process, where great candidates applied, we have been lucky to recruit Oonagh Smyth. I am so pleased that Oonagh looked at my letter, read the information in the recruitment pack and gave us a punt. We will not let her, the sector and most importantly the people who receive care and support down.

Employers consistently point to our sector’s vacancy rates, immigration system decisions and the hostile financial climate as evidence that there’s still so much to do to raise the value, status and recognition of the social care workforce. More still to achieve our ambition that social care becomes a ‘career of choice’. It was my career of choice back in the late 1970s (I know!) and we at Skills for Care strive for this to be the case for many more people.

We know that the workforce is projected to grow to over two million by 2035. Our task is to work with others to shift the paradigm, to attract this values-driven workforce and to support them to become skilled in the complex art of supporting people to live the best lives possible.

I’m pleased that I’ve managed not to break or lose anything whilst I’ve been Interim CEO and full credit for that should go to my Skills for Care colleagues including the leadership team and our very supportive board. I continue to be extremely proud of what we’ve been able to achieve over the year, we still manage to ‘punch well above our weight’ within the sector. 

But no resting on laurels, it has never been clearer that there’s so much more to do.

I remain really pleased (and a little relieved) to return to my substantive post as Director of External Operations and to continue as part of a team supporting the continued development of Skills for Care to explore the opportunities for the social care sector. There is much work still to be done.


Andy Tilden

Interim CEO, Skills for Care