Care Skills Escalator or CASE, is a project funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Commission under the KA202 funding stream.

The overall aim of this project will be to develop and test a new 'Skills Escalator' model and approach to the development of the skills and competencies of front line health and social care staff working with elderly people living with dementia, using innovative digital technologies and methodologies. The project will include a strong emphasis on workplace learning and mentoring as well as the development of a range of flexible online and blended learning resources and content accessible through a wide range of means including PCs, tablets and smartphones.

The context and need for the project were identified through background research by the partners and their practical experience of working together on related EU and other projects focusing on the needs of elderly people living with dementia. Within the EU rapid growth is forecast in the elderly population and in their health and support needs and the numbers living with dementia are forecast to grow from 9.6 million in 2016 to 15 million by 2035 (OECD / European Commission estimates). This is resulting in growing labour and skills shortages in the care sector with care providers often having to recruit staff who lack the qualifications and experience required to work with a client group with complex needs.

The project is led by the R & D Centre Linkoping from Sweden and includes 4 other partners, Dundee and Angus College from Scotland UK, Somorrostro Training Centre from the Basque Country in Spain, Zemgale Planning Region from Latvia and TTC Ilfov from Romania. A transnational approach is needed because of the urgent need to upgrade the skills of care staff working with the ultimate target group in all the partner countries, and the added value that will result from the exchange of knowledge and expertise and joint development and testing of innovative approaches between the partners to address this issue.

The objectives and main activities of the project will be:

  1. To prepare a Baseline Study which will focus on the care services provided in each region, staff and skills shortages particularly among care / nursing assistants, and existing training provision.
  2. Establishing a Knowledge Triangle within each region through stakeholder forums bringing together employers / care providers, municipalities / policy makers/researchers and VET providers to provide an ongoing 'knowledge loop' of input and feedback.
  3. Developing a dedicated Skills Escalator transnational learning and knowledge platform providing flexible access to learning opportunities for both existing and potential care staff.
  4. Developing an online / blended dementia care learning programme for front line care and nursing staff in both specialist dementia care and generic key employability skills which can be tailored to individual learner needs.
  5. Piloting the platform, learning programme and learning resources with care staff in each of the partner regions.
  6. Developing a Skills Escalator Toolkit which will include guidance for care providers seeking to implement the model.
  7. Producing a Final Innovation Report and organising national / transnational mainstreaming and dissemination programmes.

The main results and impacts of the project will be:

  • Development of a delivery model and package of tools and resources which will provide a powerful and accessible vehicle for developing the skills and competencies of care staff with low / no qualifications and enhancing the quality of care for elderly people living with dementia.
  • Directly developing the skills, competencies and qualifications of 150 learners in the partner regions who will participate in the piloting.
  • Exploitation of the outputs / products through the project's mainstreaming and dissemination activities, 1,200 people will participate in launch and dissemination events and a further 1,500 willbenefit through stakeholder forums, presentations, network meetings etc.