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Assisted Living Technology in social care: workforce development implications

Andrea Wigfield (Associate Professor of Social Policy, based at University of Leeds, Leeds, UK)
Katy Wright (Research Associate, based at University of Leeds, Leeds, UK)
Elizabeth Burtney (Programme Manager, based at Research, Skills for Care, Leeds, UK)
Diane Buddery (Programme Manager, based at Innovation, Skills for Care, London, UK)

Journal of Assistive Technologies

ISSN: 1754-9450

Article publication date: 29 November 2013




The purpose of this paper is to look at the implications of the increasing use of Assisted Living Technology in the social care sector and to assess the implications for the workforce in terms of job roles, skills, knowledge, training, and support.


A mixed methods approach was used, through a quantitative electronic survey of staff working in social care (as well as some health care) organisations in England, and three qualitative case studies of local authorities.


The research shows that the organisations involved in delivering Assisted Living Technology, the types of Assisted Living Technology being introduced, and the way in which it is being delivered, have implications for job roles and the skills and knowledge needed by staff. The associated training and workforce development similarly varies across the social care sector; it is ad hoc, disparate, and provided primarily by individual employers or by suppliers and manufacturers.

Research limitations/implications

There is a need for a standardised Assisted Living Technology workforce development approach which can be used across the social care sector.

Practical implications

The varied nature of Assisted Living Technology providers and delivery models presents a challenge to the development and implementation of a standardised programme of workforce development.


This paper presents the results of new empirical research arising from a quantitative and qualitative study of the workforce development implications of Assisted Living Technology in the English social care sector.



The authors would like to thank all those who took time to complete the survey, and staff at the three case study local authorities who generously gave their time to be interviewed. They would also like to thank Jerome Billeter and Jeromy Porteus for their support in publicising the survey link. Their thanks extend to researchers, Dr Gary Fry, Dr Christina Buse, and Dr Sian Moore for their involvement in the empirical research. The research could not have been carried out without funding from Skills for Care.


Wigfield, A., Wright, K., Burtney, E. and Buddery, D. (2013), "Assisted Living Technology in social care: workforce development implications", Journal of Assistive Technologies, Vol. 7 No. 4, pp. 204-218.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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