Book Your Coronavirus Vaccine

Book Your Coronavirus Vaccine

As the vaccination programmes roll out across the UK, it’s essential for all social care staff, in any role or position, to ensure they take up their frontline entitlement to receive a jab.

There are still millions of fantastic care workers working tirelessly in the community to support the most vulnerable, who have yet to protect themselves.

The programme’s scale has inevitably meant that GP services have missed out some social care staff who might be working right on the frontline.

In some cases, that may be because agency care workers and non-clinical staff, might not be flagged on databases as a frontline worker.

Yet, these critical employees have just as urgent a need to be vaccinated given the higher-risk workplace and the potential risk to vulnerable residents or patients.

OUTT would like to remind all of our brilliant candidates and applicants that they are first in line for a vaccine and should go right ahead and make an appointment at their earliest convenience!

Vaccine Eligibility – The Rollout Process for Care Workers

There has understandably been some confusion since the government guidelines advise to wait to be contacted before coming forward for vaccination.

This isn’t a case of any candidates or groups being overlooked, but more the unprecedented breadth of the task. With 28 million people now vaccinated (mar21), it’s a triumph for the NHS and yet a massive test on GPs and other primary care providers!

NHS guidance confirms that the following groups are immediately eligible for vaccination:

  • Carers who are the primary carer for a high-risk person.
  • Workers in care homes.
  • Frontline health workers – including clinical and non-clinical roles.
  • Frontline social care workers, including registered professionals, residential care workers and outreach staff working with patients in their homes.

All of these groups can book a vaccination slot at their nearest centre through a local pharmacy offering jabs or other NHS services in your local area.



How To Book a Care Worker COVID-19 Vaccination

If you fall into any of these groups and need to book yourself an appointment, you can:

  • Visit the NHS online booking system.
  • Select your nearest vaccination centre – that might be at a pop-up venue such as a community hall, at a local hospital, through a clinic, or at a pharmacy.
  • Choose from the dates and times available.

Note that you can book both vaccinations simultaneously and be allocated an appointment for your second dose, usually within 11-12 weeks.

Your appointment is confirmed by text message or email, and you can take this with you to evidence your booking.

Should you not have online access or have any problems with the service, you can call NHS England via 119, and they will make the booking for you. This phone service is available between 7 am and 11 pm, every day of the week.

You can also contact your GP practise if you can’t find any suitable vaccination appointments, and they may be able to assist.

Please don’t delay, and ensure you take up the opportunity to safeguard your health and that of your patients just as soon as possible!



Government Guidelines for Social Care Workers this Winter

Government Guidelines for Social Care Workers this Winter

While the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been felt across the nation, the effect on our care sector has been profound. Social care workers may be first in line for vaccinations as front line key workers, but there is still a vital need to protect employees and contingent workers, and halt the virus’s spread.

Workforce managers in care homes and social care organisations have a challenge in the year ahead with the IR35 reforms, and resultant changes to managing agency staff. Still, there is no doubt that having skilled professionals on hand to cover for specialist needs, holiday cover, and urgent shifts will always be in high demand!

The government has created a policy paper called the ‘COVID-19 Winter Plan 2020 to 2021’. This document looks at staff planning, safety guidelines and best practise to keep social care workers and the people they care for, safe.

Let’s run through the key information you need to know to be prepared for these recommendations, which are likely to become hard and fast rules!

Managing Care Home Agency Staff According to New UK Guidance

So, the primary takeaway is that employers should try to avoid moving staff between different care home facilities as far as they can.

Vulnerable residents are far more susceptible to serious illness as a result of the virus. This guideline is intended to limit how staff move between different social care settings, to have consistency within the workforce. Therefore, if an outbreak does occur, it will be more limited to within a smaller number of settings, rather than being exposed to multiple organisations.

As a social care manager, reliant on agency staff to plug those all-important workforce gaps, this presents a bit of a puzzle!

  • IR35 nurses may fall into the new off-payroll working classification. Social care employers will likely be reluctant to commit to fixed, regular hours for the same agency nurses for fear of inadvertently breaching the new employment rules.
  • Agency staffing needs are often urgent and with very little notice, for example, if a team member becomes ill, and a shift needs covering immediately.
  • Requirements vary – if a resident requires a specific treatment or level of care, a contingency professional might be a far more affordable option than employing regular staff with a particular skill set.

The only way to comply with the new winter working guidelines and balance your staffing needs against your budgets is to plan as effectively as possible.

Employers Find out more

How can OUTT make a real difference?

Balancing a Care Home Staffing Strategy with Pandemic Safety in Mind

While the recommendations are to secure agency workers exclusively for your care home, OUTT recognises that this guidance conflicts the IR35 rules. It is essential to work with a fully IR35 compliant agency who offers full PAYE employment benefits to every registered social care professional!

The advice is to:

  • Work on forecasting to predict required agency staff, in which roles, for how many shifts, and for how long.
  • Look ahead for at least a few months. The guidelines currently cover ‘winter’ very broadly, but as we can’t know when the pandemic restrictions will be safe to lift, it’s best to build in a contingency.
  • Pre-book agency staff as required, and try to coordinate teams so that the same care home professionals work together on the same shifts.

Appointing agency staff for fixed shift patterns, permanent work, or a long-term shift rota could cause issues if that worker falls under the IR35 rules. That might mean you are legally obliged to take them onto your PAYE payroll, even if they don’t wish to, with a cost increase of up to 30%.

OUTT is on hand to offer a workable solution to help you meet the IR35 rules, and the winter working safety guidelines, without compromising your staffing strategy or your budget – get in touch for more information about how this works.

We offer employers a rating system, whereby you can report back about agency staff performance, and candidates can build up a portfolio of testimonials, skills and qualifications. If you need to pre-book skilled care home staff for the coming months and need confidence that you’re able to rely on your agency workers to deliver to the highest standards, sign up as an OUTT employer to get started!

How to Guard Against COVID-19 Infections in Care Home Settings

With the best planning in the world, we all know that it is impossible to be 100% certain about how staffing requirements will look in a few weeks!

There could be changes to pandemic safety guidelines, members of the team may need to self-isolate or take time off with illness, or demands for staff to patient ratios might change. That in mind, the critical controls to prevent the spread of Coronavirus remain of significant importance:

  • Staff to patient ratios are imperative. Care levels demand a requisite number of trained professionals and HCAs, and therefore agency staff are still permitted on an ad hoc basis as required.
  • Asking agency workers to provide a COVID-19 test before beginning a shift is a control measure in addition to seven-day testing cycles for all care staff.
  • Workers should change into their uniform on arrival, and wash that uniform, including any reusable protection items after every shift, on a hot wash.
  • Agencies should not book shifts for the same worker in two locations on the same day, to ensure that there is less risk of a care worker bringing the virus from one setting into another.
  • If an agency care home employee has been working at a home where there has been a virus outbreak, they should leave it at least 14 days before accepting a shift at another facility to ensure they are not a carrier.

With vaccination programmes rolling out, many frontline care staff may have had their first injection. However, since we cannot yet know how that will impact our ability to carry or spread the virus, having a vaccination does not eliminate the need for ongoing safety controls.

The government guidelines talk about exclusive contracts and recommend increasing employment levels to ensure you have adequate shift cover. Still, we acknowledge that this depends very much on staffing budgets, occupancy levels and pressure on your existing workforce. Usual measures such as medical-grade PPE, restrictions on visitors and movements, routine testing and enhanced hygiene and cleaning procedures remain essential.

If you need any advice about structuring agency care home staff around these new winter working guidelines, please contact the OUTT social care recruitment team. We offer cost-effective fixed agency rates, full IR35 compliance, and a network of highly skilled, and employer rated social care professionals with our support with compliance at every step of the way.


2021 Minimum Agency Rates and National Living Wage – The Facts

2021 Minimum Agency Rates and National Living Wage – The Facts

Living wages, page freezes and the cost of living have all been high on the agenda this year – as many frontline social care workers face heavier demands and are recognised as imperative to the nation’s health.

However, it’s well worth thinking about how your agency hourly rates stack up, and whether the contingency staff you rely on are being paid fairly…

Because it’s a question, many organisations rarely have time to think about, and could make a massive difference to your staff retention stats!

In this article, we’ll review:

  • The true cost of PAYE employment (and why it’s so much more than an hourly rate of pay!).
  • What it means to be a minimum wage organisation.
  • How the real cost of living compares to the UK minimum rates.

Add in IR35 to the mix, and 2021 looks likely to be a year when we all take a moment to think harder about equality, parity and the welfare of our teams, and in no sector is this so crucial as in social care.

UK Hourly Social Care Rates of Pay: The Breakdown

First off, let’s check out the figures. In April 2021, the National Living Wage increases, by 2.2% or £0.19 per hour.

That includes a new provision for workers aged 23 to 24, whereas currently, you fall into a lower pay band if you are between 21 and 24 (the highest National Minimum Wage at the moment applies to workers who are 25 and over).

Why does that matter so much to care homes and social care employers?

Because most agency staff who work in the care sector are over 23, and therefore it’s likely that some of your contingency staff are being paid at the bottom of the scale.

The National Living Wage is the minimum you can pay somebody, which has applied to anybody aged 25 or older in this past year. Now, the new pay scales apply that living wage to everybody from age 23 and above.

Here is a quick illustration of the 2020 hourly minimums, and how they’re changing in April:

Employee Age National Minimum Wage April 2020 - March 2021 National Minimum Wage April 2021 - March 2022
Apprentice £4.15 £4.30
Under 18 £4.55 £4.62
18 - 20 years old £6.45 £6.56
21 - 22 years old £8.20 £8.36
23 - 24 years old £8.20 £8.91
25 or over £8.72 £8.91

Employers Find out more

How can OUTT make a real difference?

Now, OUTT is paving the way for a better future for social care employment, and we strongly believe in supporting our professionals and providing rewarding career opportunities.

Therefore, it’s about deciding what rate of pay is adequate to compensate our incredible candidates for the skill, compassion, expertise and diligence they bring to every shift.

And we back that up by paying a minimum, to all social care employees, across the spectrum, of at least £10 per hour – and we’d like to make it even higher!

If you’d like to learn more about whether it is possible to live a good quality of life on a minimum wage, you can check out Living Wage, who does just that.

They calculate that the UK ‘living wage’ – i.e. what you need to earn an hour to live comfortably – is £9.50. Sadly, even with this new increase, the legal minimum still falls short of that by over 6%.

How to Calculate the True Cost of PAYE Employment

Next, we’ll work through the ‘true’ cost of employment. The vast majority of social care workforce managers rely on agency staff to cover urgent shifts, holidays and illnesses or back up their teams when demand runs high.

With IR35 coming into force from April 2021, it’s more crucial than ever to assess each regular member of agency staff and bring them onto PAYE payroll if the criteria are met.

In many cases, employers and registered nurses don’t wish to do so; sometimes because of the related on-costs. In more cases, they have chosen to work flexibly to have better control over their shifts, career and working hours.

OUTT is a fully compliant IR35 employer, taking the strain away from care facilities and offering the same reliability and flexibility as a traditional agency, but with costs fixed at a static 10% to keep agency staff employed on their own terms, and reduce agency staffing costs for employers.

One of the significant issues in social care agency staffing is that there is often a distinct lack of transparency in what an agency pays the worker, and what they charge the employer. We want to change that.

Employment costs can add up to 30% to the hourly expense, with elements shown below as an example for typical care home staff based on the current average pay rate:

Role Hourly Rate Holiday Pay (12.07%) National Insurance (13.8%) Apprenticeship Levy (0.5%) Pension Auto-Enrolment (3%) Total On Costs True Hourly Cost
HCA - Days £8.72 £1.05 £1.35 £0.04 £0.26 £2.70 ££11.42
HCA - Nights £10.00 £1.21 £1.55 £0.05 £0.30 £3.11 £13.11
RGN £18.00 £2.17 £2.78 £0.09 £0.54 £5.58 £23.58
RGN - Nights £21.00 £2.53 £3.25 £0.11 £0.63 £6.52 £27.52
Nurse in Charge - Days £20.00 £2.41 £3.09 £0.10 £0.60 £6.20 £26.20
Nurse in Charge - Nights £23.00 £2.78 £3.56 £0.12 £0.69 £7.15 £30.15
Role Hourly Rate Holiday Pay (12.07%) National Insurance (13.8%)
HCA - Days £8.72 £1.05 £1.35
HCA - Nights £10.00 £1.21 £1.55
RGN £18.00 £2.17 £2.78
RGN - Nights £21.00 £2.53 £3.25
Nurse in Charge - Days £20.00 £2.41 £3.09
Nurse in Charge - Nights £23.00 £2.78 £3.56
Apprenticeship Levy (0.5%) Pension Auto-Enrolment (3%) Total On Costs True Hourly Cost
£0.04 £0.26 £2.70 ££11.42
£0.05 £0.30 £3.11 £13.11
£0.09 £0.54 £5.58 £23.58
£0.11 £0.63 £6.52 £27.52
£0.10 £0.60 £6.20 £26.20
£0.12 £0.69 £7.15 £30.15

So, do you really know how much your agency is paying your contingent staff?

Do you think it’s feasible that their agency commission rates include all of those on-costs that staff are entitled to?

The problem is that if an agency is charging anything below £11.42, rising to £11.68 from April, it’s distinctly possible that, either:

  • They are knowingly making a loss on each hour of employment, or,
  • Your staff are being paid beneath the legal minimum, or,
  • Agency workers are not being provided with their fundamental employment rights.

In general, we’d advise that any rate below £12 requires further investigation – particularly with regulations tightening up with the new employment laws being introduced.

What Does Being a Minimum Wage Organisation Mean for Your Care Facility?

We appreciate that for many social care employers, the news of a pay increase can feel like another pressure on a strained budget.

Still, we’re here to demonstrate that you can save a substantial amount on recruitment costs and staff training by paying your staff a fair wage!

Being a minimum wage employer, whether directly or through an agency, can cost you a lot more than 2.2% in the long run:

  • Staff who feel they are unfairly paid are much more likely to seek work elsewhere.
  • Low rates of pay can lead to low morale and a lack of commitment.
  • Workers struggling with income might find it harder to respond to urgent shift requirements or deal with any tasks that expand on their remit.
  • Productivity is proven to be higher in satisfied employees – correspondingly; low pay means lower work rates, the need to hire more staff, or pay for more hours, to complete the same amount of work.
  • Recruitment costs can be high, so replacing staff means an additional cost and time – from interviewing, advertising, reviewing CVs, training, and induction periods to ordering new uniforms.
  • Managers can struggle to continually train new team members, leading to lower skill levels, lack of sufficient training and inadequate care standards.

For OUTT, our commitment to an hourly rate of pay far above the minimum isn’t just about recruiting the best quality candidates, who want to stay with us.

It’s about long-term returns for our social care employers, who evaluate their staff and find that, the better the rewards, the better the job satisfaction, the higher the standards, the higher the skill level, and the happier the workforce.

  • If you’re not sure what your care home staff agency pays?
  • Or the rate seems to be suspiciously low?
  • If you’re concerned about your staff retention figures, and why recruitment is costing so much?

We hope we’ve given you some guidance to get to the bottom of those issues.

For more information about the OUTT way of working, and to get on board with an IR35 compliant agency who provide a best in class service for both employers and our candidates, get in touch or register today.

Winter Safety Tips for Care Workers

Winter Safety Tips for Care Workers

As we dive into the depths of January, and the mercury dips ever lower, it is vital for care workers to consider their safety and wellbeing.

Not only are frontline key workers dealing with all the challenges of providing outstanding care throughout a global pandemic – but are also faced with sub-zero temperatures, snow, ice and freezing fog!

Here we’ll run through our advice to take good care of yourself throughout your shifts, from safe travel to proper winter nutrition. Remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup, so it’s important to put your health at the top of your priorities, to make sure you can keep providing your essential services to your residents and patients when they need you most.

Care Workers Winter Dress Tips

You don’t need us to explain that care shifts can be diverse and varied.

There is every possibility that you work in several different care homes or facilities. Outreach social care staff also need to visit people in their own homes, or at community hubs, and in some cases, it’s quite challenging to predict where you will be required!

The best way to deal with this is to dress appropriately; if you prepare for the worst and need to take off a few layers, it means that you’re fixed to handle even the coldest of days.

  • Keep spare clothes with you, at your desk, in your bag, or the car so you’ve got layers on hand if you need them. Think gloves, a hat, scarf and spare socks (damp, cold feet can cause a tremendous amount of discomfort!).
  • Layer up, with lots of fabrics to trap warm air close to your body. Yes, you might have to shed a jumper here or there during the day, but it’s best to have a back up if you find yourself needing to head out at short notice.
  • Wear sensible shoes. If you live for a pair of glamorous heels, you can still bring them with you! Nevertheless, if you’re de-icing a car, waiting for a colleague or need to walk outdoors in potentially icy conditions, having a decent grip will keep your feet firmly beneath you.

Particularly at this time of year, the weather can change its mind at a moment’s notice.

We’ve all gone off to work in the gloriously crisp winter sunshine, only to head home in a blizzard, so it’s best not to rely on the weather report alone, and to have a contingency plan.

Think Warm Nutrition for Cold Work Days

The next recommendation we’d make is to consider your lunch.

We’ve all worked a shift where there isn’t time for a proper sit-down, or when we need to grab a snack quickly. But, if you’re on your feet all day and encountering cold temperatures, you do need to pay attention to your body and refuel when required.

Having something warm, even if it’s a thermos of coffee or an insulated soup container, means that you can restore your core temperature if you’ve needed to travel on a snowy day, and can do wonders for your energy and morale as well as your health. Don’t leave it to chance. If a snowstorm does hit, there is no telling what the roads might look like, or how long a queue you might end up in, so having something warming with you saves being caught out in potentially risky situations.

Delays to public transport are very common in snow and ice, and if you do end up waiting for hours to get to your destination if you’ve got food with you, you’re going to find the experience a lot more comfortable!

Ready to join OUTT?

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Charge Your Mobile and Bring a Power Bank

Next up, let’s think about the absolute worst-case scenario! You’re heading home, but there is a mass exodus with everyone trying to get back before the roads ice over.

There is a massive queue for the train, the buses are running nightmarishly slow on freshly gritted roads, or public transport services are suspended without notice due to dangerous travel conditions. In any of these situations, or if you find yourself locked out or stranded in icy weather, you need your mobile to call for help, let your shift manager know that you’re running late, or give a home care patient a ring, so they’re assured that you are on your way.

You’ve got a few options here:

  • Charge your mobile before you head out for the start of a shift.
  • Bring a charger with you (with a plug adapter if you use a USB charger, as not all staff rooms will have the facilities to charge on a USB adapter!).
  • Invest in a power bank as a back up if you’re out and about, and your battery starts to run down.

Always check your battery before you head out the door, and spend a few minutes waiting to have a decent charge before starting your journey.

Bring Your Own Supplies

Now, it might sound like we’re preparing for a six-foot snowstorm the likes of the UK rarely sees, but the reality is that cold weather can be harsh, and sudden.

We’re not suggesting you bring a tent, foil blanket and snowshoes with you to work every day, but it is well worth thinking about what you sling in your bag so that you’re not putting your health at risk if you do have a busy day of appointments, or know that you’ll be leaving work in cold, dark conditions.

If you usually bring a small bag with you, we’d suggest upgrading that to a backpack. They are easier to carry, don’t put a strain on your shoulders, and have more capacity to bring extra layers, a bottle of water, and perhaps some reading material if you do end up with a long wait ahead.

There are some small, light things you can stash away that will be invaluable in an emergency!

  • A small torch is an excellent idea if your road is iced over and you need to walk in the dark.
  • Hand warmers are a great way of keeping your fingers or toes warm.
  • Some energy gels or dextrose tablets will help give you a boost if public transport isn’t running, or you can’t get a cab from the station and find yourself with a long slog home.
  • Spare cash is a good plan should the train stop running – most taxis these days have snow tyres, and contactless payment machines and are pretty reliable. Still, if you’ve got a bit of cash as a backup plan, you won’t find yourself stranded.
  • Socks are a must-have, and when the buses are packed, or running very late, it’s essential to keep your feet warm, particularly if you do need to walk.

We hope these suggestions are useful – and please remember that even if a light dusting of snow is forecast, if you end up needing to make your own way home, have a busy day of client appointments lined up, or are likely to be spending a good chunk of your shift outdoors, being prepared is essential!

Transport conditions can change without warning if roads haven’t been gritted, so making a few provisions will make a big difference in your safety, wellbeing, and comfort.

If you’re at all concerned with the weather, lack of transport options, or managing to negotiate your shift in snow and ice, always get in touch with your immediate manager to ensure you’ve got everything you need.

Above all, stay safe out there!

Top 10 Social Care Worker Gifts

Top 10 Social Care Worker Gifts

Christmas is fast approaching, and with a year that has been challenging for many, it’s an excellent opportunity to show your love and appreciation for the social care workers in your life who have been at the front line managing the strain of the pandemic! So here are our top ten social care worker gifts!

Working in care is tremendously rewarding, skilled and varied – but we all need a little break from time to time, and we’d like to make Christmas 2020 as memorable a time as we can!

  1. Candles & Bath Salts

Nothing says pure relaxation and quiet bliss like a long soak in a foamy bath, or chilling out by gentle candlelight and enjoying the aroma. Social care workers often work demanding hours, long shifts, and a thoughtful gift will allow them to take some time for themselves.

  • Neom’s Perfect Night’s Sleep Scented Candle comes in a charming travel size, and uses natural lavender, jasmine and basil fragrances to let your mind drift away as you fall to sleep.
  • Wicks and Reeds make a beautiful soy wax Eucalyptus and Lavender candle. With a sweet gift tin, wooden wick and elegant recyclable packaging, this is ready to give as a gift.
  • Westlab Sleep Bath Salts on Look Fantastic are a fantastic gift for a tired social care worker that needs to take a weight off.
  1. Travel Mugs and Christmas Coffee Cups

Every care worker needs their tea or coffee to start the day off right, and there’s nothing worse than getting to your shift on time, and finding a stone-cold cup of joe waiting to greet you!

Travel mugs are a stylish, useful and thoughtful gift that will get years of use.

  • These super cute Patterned Bamboo Travel Mugs at Etsy come in a range of colours and are made from eco-conscious bamboo.
  • Rex London makes some unique ‘gifts of random kindness’, and the bright and cheerful Unicorn Bamboo Travel Mug will be sure to brighten even the dreariest of winter mornings!
  • If you’re looking for something a bit more personal, Getting Personal make these slick Personalised Travel Vacuum Flasks, ideal for social care workers who like their caffeine with a hint of style!
  1. High-Quality Face Masks – or Make it Personal!

Every professional in the health and social care sectors will have felt the pressure of wearing a facemask for an extended period.

While work in hospitals and clinical spaces requires specific medical-grade facemasks to be worn, for everyday use a soft, silky facemask will be a breath of fresh air for any social care worker.

  • Take a look at these luxurious Soft Satin Face Masks – made by FormalSaints and with the option to add personalised initials.
  • My Picture offers customised facemasks, with any photo, design or logo made with antiviral and antibacterial fabric.
  1. Clothing They Will Wear With Pride

2020 has been a revolutionary year for social care workers and NHS staff, with recognition and appreciation that is long overdue. It’s never been a better time to wear your heart on your sleeve!

Ready to join OUTT?

Find social care shifts that you control!
  1. Tote Bags

We all need a bag for our ‘stuff’ – and a social care worker will always have countless files, equipment and resources to lug about with them!

  • This Fashion World black tote has 20% of the profits going to NHS Charities Together. We love the simplicity and sentiment of the logo!
  • We’re also charmed by the Essential Worker tote at Zazzle – and since care workers have indeed kept the nation going, it’s a fitting gift.
  1. Coffee Subscriptions

A coffee subscription is a gift that keeps on giving; and rather than a one-off present will deliver a caffeinated surprise long after the Christmas decorations have been taken down!

  • Blue Coffee Box offer subscriptions of gourmet coffee, with a Blue Coffee Bag option, or a Blue Coffee Box with two full-size bags of coffee, included in a presentation box.
  • The Coffee Factory also offers fantastic monthly gift subscriptions.
  1. Moisturising Hand Masks

Hand sanitiser has become a necessity, but with increased hand washing protocols and frequent sanitiser, even the softest of social care worker hands is likely chipped, sore and red.

  • The Body Shop has a set of Moisture Gloves, designed to be used with hand cream for an overnight treatment.
  • Beauty Bag has an elegant VIP The Gold Hand Mask that will return moisture and nourishment to the most tired hands.
  1. Smart Lunch Boxes for Quirky Tea Breaks

Lunches and breaks tend to be taken on the go for care workers – and a smart lunch box that keeps your toastie warm and your salad cool is essential!

Give a gift that will make lunch something to look forward to; however short and sharp that lunch break might be!

  • John Lewis has this smart Mepal Lunch Pot 700ml which can be heated in the microwave, stored in the fridge and has a separate compartment for soup, yoghurt or cereal.
  • Chilly’s is perhaps the best-known food pot brand, and makes these cute pastel coloured pots that keep food steaming hot for up to six hours!
  1. Warming Neck Wraps, Heat Socks and Feet Warmers

As winter kicks in and the mercury drops, keeping warm and well is a priority. Working in social care can be physically challenging, and we do not doubt that a soothing neck wrap, blissful feet warmers or heated socks will go down a treat.

  • Huggaroo makes an amazingly soft weighted Neck Wrap. It can be heated in the microwave and contains soothing lavender to lift away the stress of the day.
  • Pick up a gorgeous fleecy Foot Warmer Hot Water Bottle from Heat-Treats – this looks so comfy we’re not sure we’d ever want to move!
  • Heat Holders are great for social care workers that spend a long day on their feet, with insulating yarn and machine washable to keep toes warm throughout the day. Pick them up on Amazon.
  1. Luxurious Bubbling Foot Spas

Putting your feet up takes on a whole new meaning with the divine relaxation of a scented, warm, bubbling foot spa!


We hope this list has given you some great ideas for Christmas gifts that will bring a smile to any social care worker this year! Let us at OUTT know what special gifts you’d recommend – and your favourite gift you have received that has brought a sprinkle of festive magic to your day!

OUTT Academy – Social Care Training

OUTT Academy – Social Care Training

Whether you’re an established social care worker or thinking about applying for a care staff job, you know that social care training is just part and parcel – no matter how much of a drag it is. The thing is, training feels almost designed to be inconvenient.  You have to turn up for one hour every week for what seems like forever; and by the time you’ve registered, everyone has made a cup of tea and sat down, it’s time to go home again (did anyone say ‘course extension’?).

And even when you’ve been good and done all your updates and refresher courses, something else crops out of the woodwork to add to your bursting-at-the-seams to-do list.

Let’s stop right there.

– It doesn’t have to be stressful.

– It doesn’t have to be expensive.

– It doesn’t have to be time-consuming.

– It doesn’t have to be difficult.

OUTT Academy: The New Way to Upskill

 Let’s be honest – the more certificates and training you’ve done, the better your CV.

No matter what anyone says about candidate quality or on the job experience, we all know that great recruiters are only going to take a second look if your list of skills makes you look like the social care version of an astronaut. Certifications are great; they back-up what you know you can do, and validate all your experiences into one, short sentence.

We also know that a lot of care homes will have a mandatory checklist of training. So, if you’re bang up to date and can tick every box, you’ll save a prospective employer a whole lot of time and cost because you’ve already got all the skills they need – and the qualifications to prove it.

If you’ve got the right training, you will get the job 100% of the time over an applicant who doesn’t. It’s obvious, right!

And here at OUTT, we love doing things differently.

Not because we’re trying to be awkward, but because we’ve spent years in social care and know that if something is complicated and expensive, it shouldn’t be.

Pretty much every workforce manager in the country is crying out for fantastic care staff, and if all you need to show them that you are that person is a certificate, we’re here to make that happen.

For free.

Flexible Social Care Working – Training Included

We’re not pulling your leg, here. There isn’t a hidden cost or a non-refundable subscription. You won’t have to give us your credit card details, your life insurance policy number or your inner leg measurement.

No kidding – OUTT wants every single candidate who uses our digital employment service to get all the training they need, completely free of charge.

Because we can, and because you deserve it.

Care homes can be hectic and demanding, and yet care workers are an invaluable part of the fabric of UK communities. When we need you, you are always there, and it’s a privilege to be making those jobs easier to find, easier to train for, better paid and flexible around your life.

OUTT Academy:

  • Is free of charge, to all candidates who are registered with our service.
  • Delivers credible, certified training to back up and reinforce your knowledge.
  • Every course is certificated, and you can use that qualification anywhere (even though we know you’re never going to want to leave!).
  • All mandatory training is included – so once you’ve finished the course, you’re good to go.

It’s one thing to have a network of the best social care employers, and offer ultimate flexibility when it comes to choosing your shifts, deciding who you want to work for, and receiving pay that recognises your skills.

But we created our academy because we want amazing social care staff, and know that on the job training routes often never seem to happen, and independent courses are ridiculously expensive.

So we made it better, and we made it free.

Ready to join OUTT?

Find social care shifts that you control!

Social Care Training On Your Terms

Flexibility is a word we hear all the time but in reality? It very rarely exists.

Training has to work around your life. You can’t be expected to attend half-day training courses that start at 8 am (unless the course fee includes childcare and school drop of service?). Thought not.

You know when you work best. For us, that’s probably late morning when our coffee has done its magic.

For others, it’s first thing when their mind is fresh. Maybe you’re a night owl, and have the best focus in the early hours.

With OUTT, it doesn’t matter when you want to study, how much time you have to commit, whether you’re learning on the train commuting to work, or on your mobile waiting for the kiddos to (finally!) drop off to sleep.

Every course is:

  • Available on-demand, on any internet-connected device.

Want to learn on a tablet while you soak in the bath? Prefer to read on your mobile? Like to sit down at a PC with a cup of hot chocolate in your PJs? No problem.

  • On the same, streamlined portal.

Social care training covers a vast spectrum, but we wanted to make it easy. Every course is accessed from the same, central portal; one login, one password, one hub – that keeps track of where you are, what you’ve done, and which courses you’d like to do next.

Free Training Courses for ALL Care Workers

The OUTT training team is continually growing our course content so that you can keep expanding your knowledge as you go.

You might decide to do a refresher every few months, or you might want to cover a massive list of topics before applying for that next level role.

Whatever, however and whenever you want to learn, the academy remains at your disposal for as long as you’re an OUTT member.

Self-empowerment is a forceful thing, and the OUTT academy is designed to give you back control over your career and decide for yourself what your next step will be.

OUTT isn’t a secret, either – we’re always happy to welcome new social care workers with open arms (virtually, of course!).

You are free to share away, tell your friends, and let anybody working in social care know that the OUTT training academy is free of charge and accessible to anybody.

– Like what you’re hearing and want to learn more?

– Interested in flexible working that fits around your life?

– Keen to get some free social care training certificates under your belt?


Register with OUTT today, and we’ll hook you up.