Social care workers fight job 'myths' in North Yorkshire's biggest-ever recruitment campaign
With more than 20,000 jobs across hundreds of organisations, the social care sector in North Yorkshire is vast.
Those working in it – including support workers, home managers and nurses - often say it is helping others that makes care one of the most rewarding careers out there.
But there are myths and misconceptions about the sector which the county's biggest-ever recruitment campaign is now hoping to bust.
The Make Care Matter campaign has launched in response to plummeting numbers of job applications for the around 1,000 empty roles in the county, and bosses say changing the image of the struggling sector will be the key to getting it back on its feet.
"Sometimes the image portrayed is that care workers are not professionals," said Richard Webb, director of health and adult services at North Yorkshire County Council.
"We feel very strongly that they are, just like doctors, teachers and nurses.
"A career in care really does open doors and offers something for everyone as we have got hundreds of different roles. Care also gives you a future with certainty as it is a growing sector with good prospects.
"We want to bring new people in because there are so many opportunities for people with different skills and interests.
"Now is both the most challenging and best time to get started."
It is not for young people, it is a job for women and it is unskilled - those are just some of the stereotypes that care careers carry with them.
But take a look behind the scenes and bosses say you will see that people from all types of backgrounds have stepped into the profession, from builders and retail workers to accountants and young graduates.
They also say care can be a "lifetime" career with many opportunities to climb the ladder of progression.
Yet bosses are not hiding away from some of the challenges that the sector is currently facing.
Social care was struggling before the pandemic and its long-standing structural issues have only been exacerbated by the virus outbreak.
In North Yorkshire, there has been a recent 70% drop in applications for jobs across the county's 500 providers, some of which are continuing to go out of business due to rising costs.
There is also the issue of compulsory Covid vaccines for frontline staff which has left around 250 workers in limbo after the government deadline passed on Thursday.
Mr Webb said while the council was working to redeploy these staff into other areas, some would see their contracts ended.
He also welcomed progress on the government's long-awaited promise to fix how the social care system is funded.
Mr Webb said: "We are looking to redeploy these staff wherever possible rather than lose them completely, and we have found that some at the last minute have had a change of heart and decided to take up the vaccine.
"We also welcome the first stage of the reforms announced recently. There are issues around workforce and pay which we are hopeful the government will address."
To find out more about the jobs available go to www.makecarematter.co.uk
By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter