After caring - work and studying

Working

It is easy to lose your confidence when you are out of the work environment for some time. You may feel your skills are out of date (for instance you may need to acquire or update computer skills), or that the lack of a recent work record will hinder any applications you make.
 
But remember that caring for someone helps you develop a lot of skills that employers will really value and look for such as:
 
  • Problem solving
  • Negotiating
  • Decision making
  • Resilience
  • Building networks
Take time to think through your real life experiences and how they fit in with job description of the job you want to apply for.  Sell yourself and give example of how you have demonstrated skills whilst you were supporting the person you cared for.
 
For example, you could say: 
 
“I have had caring responsibilities in my family for the past four years.”
 
Or you could say:
 
“I have had caring responsibilities in my family for the past four years. During this time I have managed the family budget, ensuring all bills were paid and other commitments made; I have liaised with many senior health professionals to ensure the service they provided was suitable and actively multi-tasked to complete studies and give family support.”
 
Your local carer service will be able to help you make the transition back into work or training – some have special projects and support groups.
 
NHS Choices has information about finding work after caring, and the Gov.uk website has general advice about finding a job

Training and studying

When caring has ended you may want to take on a new challenge. Returning to studying or training may seem daunting but can offer new opportunities and a chance to build confidence.
 
Many local carer services offer training courses for carers and former carers. Contact your local carer service to find out what is available where you live. 
 
There are also many ways to learning online. Have a look at Learn My Way to find a course that might suit you or get support getting online. You could also look:
 
  • City and Guilds – offer qualifications and apprenticeships
  • Learndirect – offer courses and qualifications
If you are worried about the financial impact of studying, particularly if you aren’t working, there is help available: 
 
  • Professional and Career Development Loans are bank loans to pay for courses and training.  Loans are usually offered at a reduced interest rate and the government pays interest while you’re studying. See you if could apply for a Professional and Career Development Loans on the Gov.uk website.
  • Family Action’s Educational Grants Programme gives grants to people who want to unlock their educational potential by participating in further education. You don’t have to be a carer to apply. You may qualify if you are over 14 and on a low income.   
  • Skills Funding Council - fund skills training for further education (FE) in England.
You should also get in touch with your local carer service as they may be able to help you find other grants and loans that suit your situation. They will help you work out if any other benefits you claim might be affected. 

Volunteering

Many carers volunteer when their caring roles have ended.  It is a great way to meet new people and can be very rewarding.  You many also find that the experience you get whilst volunteering helps you decide if you want to return to work or do some training.

Read a carer's story

 
Still can't find what you're looking for? Why not post a message on one of our discussion boards or join our online chat room. Here you can meet, and possibly pick up tips and advice from experienced family carers in similar situations to yours. Find out more about Carers Space.