Hongkou offers 20,000 yuan incentive for aged care workers

It is the first district to take advantage of the city's efforts to attract and retain more qualified carers in what is an unpopular career.

As part of the city’s plan to attract more people into the elderly care industry, qualified carers in Hongkou District can now apply for up to 20,000 yuan (US$3,000) in government assistance.

Hongkou has become the first district to cash in on city government incentives to attract workers to what is a largely unpopular career.

Demand for elderly care in the district is high — about 30 percent of residents are elderly, one of the highest proportions in the downtown area, a local official told Shanghai Daily on Monday.

Only frontline nursing staff, not administrators or other officials, can apply for the grant.

Applicants must have worked in local institutions for as least a year to qualify.

The grants are divided into three categories: a worker with a bachelor’s or higher degree can get 20,000 yuan over three years; a junior college graduate 10,000 and someone with a diploma from a secondary technical school qualifies for 5,000 yuan.

Part-time students qualify for 70 percent and the district government will subsidize further vocational education with 200-400 yuan a month.

The government also said it would introduce professional social organizations to provide diversified training for carers in nursing facilities who have not reached retirement age.

If they complete the training and earn national-level certificates, they could be reimbursed for 80 percent of the training cost from local human resources and social security department and another 20 percent from civil affairs authorities.

The district also plans to subsidize housing costs for qualified carers who do not have a home in the city.

Shanghai has introduced a series of measures to cultivate a large and strong care team. The number of people aged 60 or more is expected to pass 5.4 million by 2020 — more than 36 percent of the population.

The city has an estimated 45,000 to 50,000 elderly nursing workers and authorities plan to add another 78,000 by 2020.

More than 30 percent will have national-level care certificates.

The new measures include the establishment of a civil affairs college by Shanghai Open University and the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau.

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