Working for Carers supported unpaid carers and former carers in London to move into or closer to employment. The project was funded by the European Social Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund between October 2016 and June 2023.
Wavehill Social and Economic Research evaluated the project between 2019 and 2022. Key findings include:
- Working for Carers is by design carer friendly and is therefore likely to appeal to carers seeking to move back into employment. The majority of participants had a current caring role when they registered.
- The biggest barrier to moving into employment for carers is finding work or education/training that fits around the caring role; this is followed by low confidence and skills that are not up-to-date.
- 82% were economically inactive (not in employment or actively job-searching) when they registered with the project.
- Participants who are economically inactive are more likely to require pre-employability support: space to consider their needs and barriers to employment, and make an informed decision about next steps.
- A holistic approach to supporting carers to move into and sustain employment is important, which considers support needed at different stages:
- Pre-employability: encouraging carers to transition into actively seeking work
- Employability: supporting carers to progress into work
- Employment: supporting working carers and encouraging employers to adopt carer friendly policies.
- The most effective mechanism for promoting the project and generating referrals is through the development and management of strong local referral networks.
Download the Wavehill evaluation reports (2019-2022):
Final Evaluation Report (February 2022)
Final Evaluation Report – Executive Summary (February 2022)
Wavehill Evaluation Report 2 (February 2021)
Wavehill Report 2 – Executive Summary (February 2021)
Wavehill Evaluation Report 1 (September 2020)
Wavehill Report 1 – Executive Summary (September 2020)
Wavehill Social and Economic Research also conducted additional research in August 2022 to learn more about employability and employment support needs of unpaid carers. Key findings include:
- Concerns about household finances and the cost of living are a major reason why carers want to find work.
- Carers seeking work have specific needs over and above general employability support, for example advice on balancing work and caring.
- A lack of access to alternative care is a key barrier to carers progressing into employment or balancing their work with caring.
- Carers are concerned about stigma in the workplace and are worried about disclosing their caring role.
- Financial concerns, such as loss of Carer’s Allowance, are a barrier to entering work or increasing hours.
- Access to flexible working is very important for carers looking to enter or sustain work.
- More than 1 in 3 working carers report that they are struggling to balance work and their caring role.
- Carer’s Leave may help carers balance work and caring.
Download the Wavehill research report (2022):
Carers & Employment Research Report (August 2022)
Carers & Employment – Executive Summary (August 2022)
Ecorys evaluated the project between 2017 and 2019. Key findings include:
- There are benefits to a national charity working with community-based organisations: Carers Trust provided a national voice; and the Network Partners contributed an important reach into local communities.
- There was a need for carer specialist organisations to deliver Working for Carers. Network Partners understand the needs of carers and have established trust with local communities.
- Delivery needs to be tailored to the demographics of the local area.
- Individualised, and varied, support is important, which addresses needs and barriers to employment in a holistic way.
- An internal audit of local services should be conducted so carers are signposted to relevant specialist support.