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Helping unpaid carers step back into the working world

Find out about how the impact our Working for Carers project has had on unpaid carers – read Antionette’s story and Jaycee’s story

Unpaid carers sacrifice a great deal to look after sick and disabled family members. This can often mean having to give up paid work or reduce their working hours.

Some may have begun caring at a young age and have never been able to have any kind of job, whereas others may have been employed in the past, but had to forgo their job due to the overwhelming demands of their caring role.

Our survey of over 2,600 unpaid carers found that almost two thirds (64%) had either had to give up work altogether or reduce the number of hours they work.

Taking that initial step into the working world – either for the very first time or returning to it after several years away – can be incredibly daunting.

A range of barriers can make this seem an impossible task: the need for flexible working hours, the ability to work remotely, travel restrictions due to location and finances, or hesitancy from employers to hire unpaid carers due to concerns of conflicting priorities.

But having a life outside of their caring role is crucial for unpaid carers’ wellbeing. Finding a fulfilling career can help to restore a sense of identity that may have been lost in the years spent out of employment.

“I felt a sense of grieving for the life I used to have and the person I used to be. I felt empty inside.” - Jaycee, Wandsworth Carers.

Empowering carers to become employment-ready

This is where our Working for Carers project comes in. Since 2017, the project has focused on building confidence in unpaid carers and helping them take that first step towards employment.

Led by Carers Trust, the project is delivered across all London boroughs by four of our Network Partners: Camden Carers Service, Carers Lewisham, Harrow Carers and Redbridge Carers Support Service.

Participants (aged 25+) can access free support tailored to meet their individual needs. These are primarily via one-to-ones with an Employment Personal Advisor, but carers can also benefit from peer support and attend a range of workshops covering topics such as CV writing, interview techniques and IT skills.

Meetings and activities mostly occur virtually, or when in-person, are held at local community venues to prevent travel limitations.

Each individual carer’s unique needs and barriers to work are assessed holistically by Advisors, who then help participants find volunteering, training and work opportunities to help build experience, skillsets and importantly, self-belief.

“They believed in me when I’d stopped believing in myself.” - Antionette, Camden Carers.

How has the Working for Carers project helped unpaid carers?

  • 87% of those who completed an exit form reported improved confidence and 82% reported that they had gained new skills and experiences.
  • 69% had sustained employment for 26 out of 32 weeks since exiting the project.
  • Around three out of five participants exit the project into employment, education or training and/ or independent job-searching.

If you’re an unpaid carer living in London and would like to know more about how we can support you on the pathway back to work, find out more about the Working for Carers project.


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