CONTINUITY is the key to good service in the care sector and that’s why a Dumfries and Galloway employer has decided to pay the real living wage.

As the cost of living is also relatively high in such a rural area, decent pay is essential, according to Paula Mitchell of the Care Training Consortium (CTC).

“Our employees are important to us and to retain staff we need to ensure we pay them a rate that will help them to live with respect and dignity in the wider community,” she said.

“Retaining our quality staff is important to CTC and as this enables us to provide continuity in the service we provide to our customers.”

Launched in 2002 as a charity with funding from Better Neighbourhood to provide training to home carers in Dumfries and Galloway, CTC now employs five full time and six freelance staff and is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO).

“Our team is made up of a group of professionals who between them share years of knowledge and experience in business and social care,” Mitchell explained.

“This is utilised to provide our learners with a professional service for training, professional development awards and SVQs at all levels. We are an approved centre for SQA, SDS Individual Training Account, CIEH and REHIS.”

CTC provides training to carers in all types of care settings and businesses throughout Dumfries and Galloway and across Scotland.

The charity is now part-funded by Dumfries and Galloway Council to help deliver a training programme for care providers at a reduced rate which enables them to gain the skills and knowledge to required provide good quality care.

CTC also works in partnership with the NHS Carers Strategy to provide training to unpaid carers in Dumfries and Galloway. This training enables unpaid carers with skills to care for their relatives or friends so they can remain at home for longer.

“As a third sector organisation, CTC believes all employees deserve a fair rate of pay,” said Mitchell.

“Parts of Dumfries and Galloway have areas of poverty and deprivation and it is also a rural area and the cost of living can be relatively high. To enable people to have a decent standard of living, CTC decided to get on board and join the Living Wage Foundation. We also want to set an example for our customers and suppliers.

“As a charity we believe it is important to do our part in raising the profile of the importance of companies meeting the requirements of the living wage to allow people to live a better quality of life.”

The UK living wage for outside London is currently £8.75 per hour. It is significantly higher than the UK Government’s “national living wage” rate of £7.50 which applies to over-25s only.

These figures are calculated annually by the Resolution Foundation and overseen by the Living Wage Commission, based on the best available evidence on living standards in the UK.

The accreditation programme in Scotland launched in April 2014. It is an initiative from The Poverty Alliance, in partnership with the Living Wage Foundation, and is funded by the Scottish Government.

Over 25,000 people in Scotland have had a pay rise thanks to the Living Wage Scotland and more than 1150 employers headquartered in Scotland have become accredited.