One of four partners who founded V Care U, a company providing free training to create more employment opportunities and fill care home staff shortages in Barnsley, Devaraj Raj talks to unLTD about the challenges and inspirations involved in his start up.

Tell us about your company.

V Care U was established in October 2022 by myself and my three business partners. We’re based in Barnsley and offer free training to people looking for work in care homes, with the dual aim of helping to lower local unemployment levels and fill staff shortages in care homes. The training, which is run by qualified trainers and experienced nurses, is completely free of charge and we also provide uniforms so that our candidates are ready to be placed in care homes straight away.

When did you decide to start up on your own and what inspired you?

The idea for this company had been in our minds since the Covid pandemic, because we could see first hand the impact that staff shortages in care homes were having. The huge shortfall of carers and nurses, combined with the lockdowns which meant we were all sitting at home unable to work, made myself and my business partners want to make a difference. We also knew there were very high unemployment levels in Barnsley, so by not charging our candidates for training with us, we hoped to help resolve two problems with one solution.

Launchpad: Devaraj Raj V Care U

How has Launchpad helped you?

We were really struggling to find clients at first and had almost reached a dead end when I came across Launchpad advertising help for smaller businesses. I rang them up and arranged a meeting, during which my advisor Kiran was able to put me in touch with BICP Sheffield. They introduced me to Kompass, which is a directory of the decision makers you need to reach when working with care homes. We now use that to help us find and research new clients, which has built my confidence knowing that I’m doing my ‘homework’ before reaching out to potential clients.

What are your hopes and aims for your business?

As we are still in the early stages, I hope to establish V Care U in the market and then slowly grow from our current 20 mile radius to cover South Yorkshire. We want to contribute towards lowering unemployment levels and improving things in the care home sector, so we are charging care homes significantly less than our competitors which means that if they need to depend on us for staff, it will be affordable with all the right boxes ticked.

Find out more on the website at or by contacting Devaraj Raj on 07493392191 / 03301792191 or

Advisor statement from Kiran Antcliffe

“Upon first meeting Devaraj and his business partners it was clear that V Care U was something they were very passionate about and had already made significant progress in just a few short months. Building a client base is always difficult at this stage of a business’ journey so being able to signpost them towards the Kompass database, as well as giving them options for support with marketing, will hopefully help V Care U establish itself as one of the leading care recruitment agencies in the area.”

Read last month’s Launchpad column here