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Returning to work after caring - Carers UK Forum

Returning to work after caring

For anyone who is bereaved or no longer providing care.
Hi, this is my first post since joining the forum.

I have been a full-time unpaid carer for over 3yrs first of all looking after my elderly mother before she sadly passed away and then taking full-time care of my very much older father, who has cancer and has gradually lost the ability to stand and become effectively paralysed from the waist down. He has now entered a palliative care home as a 'permanent' resident as he needs a team of staff to look after him.

I find myself in the position now that I am a former carer with a "Carers' Unemployment Gap" and am struggling to get back to work, despite having professional qualifications and years of professional experience and being called for interviews.

I have been told by someone who owned her own recruitment agency that recruitment agencies do not consider placing people who have been "out of work" for 6 months or longer. I would like to get back into what I was doing prior to becoming a carer, however that requires funds to pay for a Return to Practice course at university as well as funds for professional indemnity insurance and the HCPC registration fee.

I would very much like to update my CV, by undertaking a short training course to qualify myself in something that would enable me to become self-employed, or strengthen my applications when applying for job vacancies, but all courses appear to be over £1000 which I haven't got.

One question I have is - is there any financial help available for former full-time carers to assist them to get back on their feet or any carer specific return to work schemes? If not, I think there should be!

One may suggest a loan of some kind, but Jobseeker's Allowance of £72 per week will not stretch to covering loan repayments as well. At the moment, I am on a low income and struggling with no debts and I don't want to be in the worse situation of being on a low income and struggling with debt around my neck too.

I never thought with my background that I would end up in this position. I very much want to get back into work.

I would appreciate your comments.
Would you be eligible for a student loan, I wonder, if you wanted to study at university?

Also, have you looked at the Open University? If there is something suitable for you, careerwise, then I know that many of their courses are highly modular, so you can do one module, pay for it, then take another, pay for it, and keep the credits 'building up', until you requalify completely, even if you have to do 'other work' in the meantime.

It does seem a bit daft for recruitment agencies not to take on people who have been 'unemployed' - I mean, that applies to all the mums that want to go back to work after child-raising!

It's awful that you have been left with debts after caring for your parents. I know this sounds very, very 'venal', but when your father does pass away, will that ease the financial situation for you at all?

The final irony is that I would hardly call a carer 'unemployed'!!!! You'll have been working FAR harder than most 'employees'!!!!
Hello Suzanne and welcome to the forum :)

Firstly I am sorry to hear about the death of your Mother and about your Father's cancer - it's not easy is it ?

I suggest that you contact the Carers UK Adviceline team as they are the experts on all matters related to caring and benefits. They may have some suggestions with regards to grants that you might be in a position to apply for to improve your chances of finding employment.
Need expert advice? You can talk to the Carers UK Adviceline five days a week, no matter where you are in the UK or how complex your query is. We do benefits checks and advise on financial and practical matters related to caring.

0808 808 7777
Open Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm

The Carers UK Adviceline also includes a listening service, there for you to talk through your caring situation with a trained volunteer who understands what you are going through. Available Mondays and Tuesdays, from 9am to 7pm.
If you can’t get through on the phones (lines are often oversubscribed) then send them an email, they’ll usually get back to you within 3-5 working days.

I'd also suggest having a look here https://www.turn2us.org.uk/ to check out any available grants.
(I'm presuming that you have already spoken with the Job Centre advisors and not got any helpful advice !).
Hi Suzanne
Our wonderful Henrietta put this thread together a little while a go and it may help you
https://www.carersuk.org/forum/support- ... hort-29167

Also, these days I find agencies hopeless, they have too many fixed rules and it gets so much more difficult if one is past the dreaded 50. Online sites are even worse unless you tick exactly a few boxes so they can pigeonhole you. I fit too many of their categories and therefore can't be classified. Every one of my past 4 jobs I have found direct by local paper ad, personal contact or identifying a company from the agency advert then approaching the company direct.
There's always linked in which I know a lot people swear by

I don't know of any grants, and yes there should be.
Overall if you can I'd look at self employment in some fashion, or other

Good luck
Hi Suzanne

I am in a similar position and the best information I received was from the National Careers Advice. Because you are on JSA they will be able to update a CV for you. They have have given me information about courses that I could take and also information about Grants/Funding.

They also have a website which you can get further information.

There isn't much help that I have found to help former carers which I think is something which needs to be changed, but nobody seems to be in a hurry to do anything about it!
Good Luck hope you manage to find something.
I had to look up HCPC. Health and care professionals. What exactly is your qualification? Did your dad ever pay you for caring for him? Would he be able to pay foo your course, as a thank you?
Another vote for a " Carers Probation Officer " ... Dragon's Den thread ... me thinks ?
Hello to you all, firstly I would like to thank all who have replied to my first post and say a big thank you for providing helpful suggestions.

Just to clarify some points... I was a full-time carer up until June of last year, but am now trying to find full-time work. I am not in debt at the moment, but on a very low income - too low to take on debt and I am resistant to potentially making my situation far worse my getting myself into debt. Hence I am pursuing the route of grant funding for help to fund a training course to allow me to become self-employed. This should be a short course rather than another prolonged degree programme as I want to be in employment ASAP and not be waiting for x many more years until I have re-trained.

I have indeed spoken with my "Work Coach" at Job Centre Plus about information about all possible sources of financial aid for returning to work and it has been, unfortunately, of no use whatsoever. In fact, I would say that the title "Work Coach" is completely inaccurate and would be better replaced by the title "No-help Officer". I could give the names of several other people who attend fortnightly appointments at the JC who would wholehearted agree with that statement.

Thank you for the link to Turn2us. It is a website I have used in recently as well as to going to my local Central Library to go through their Directory of Grant Making Trusts. However, though, on the face of it, it appears that there are ample streams of funding available, unless I fit into one of the following categories: a) being between this age an that age, b) a single parent on this or that benefit, c) a resident in the village to the south-east of here, d) a resident in the town to the north-west of there e) have no qualifications at all, f) have the surname "x", g) have a disability or h) represent a community group, then I do not qualify.

Thank you for this link - https://www.carersuk.org/forum/support- ... hort-29167

and I will visit the National Careers Service - it is interesting that my "advisor" at the JC did not mention this service to me himself.

I am most grateful for all of your suggestions.

It is disturbing to read about others in this same situation. I wonder just how many former carers there are who are in the same boat, seeing as there are some 6.5 million carers in the UK.

I am interested to read how others have managed to turn things around in their favour to defeat all odds and get back to work after their "Carers' Gap". :)
It is disturbing to read about others in this same situation. I wonder just how many former carers there are who are in the same boat, seeing as there are some 6.5 million carers in the UK.

From the Dragon's Den thread ... my own experience detailed on the second page :
Former Carers : Carers " Probation " Officer

What happens to an adult carer , of working age , when the caring stops ?

Unlike a prisoner on immediate release , after serving his / her time , there is no " Receiption committee " of trained personnel waiting to help with his / her returning to the changed world that awaits them , across all areas.

Why not a similiar service for former carers ? In essence , same problems with adjusting to life.

Probation Officer ? A small team of former carers , with expertise in the required areas attached to each LA , and in some areas , Trussells.

Communication with any new former carer either face to face , email , skype whatever ... an informal setting between two carers.

If you like ... Porridge ... Ronnie Barker ... Godber arrives and Fletcher shows him the ropes !

Use of former carers ? The very essence of what a carer goes through can only be experienced by a fellow carer !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Cost ? Optional ... I'm sure that within the ranks of a few million carers , there will be enough to even volunteer their services for free if they know that they will be helping their former ship mates ?

Where based ? No need for a separate base ... email communication between themselves and the LA / Trussells is all that's needed. Literally , signup , and be on call , at your convenience , to assist a new former carer. Some likely candidates might even be volunteers at Trussells in the first place !

How advertised ? Same aeons old problem ... 5.5 million carers NOT identified as such. That element is open to any reader ... gp surgeries , hospitals , chemists , food banks , caree supporting groups .... add whatever to likely places a carer would see the poster.
Hi Suzanne
If you are looking to return to practice in a health field then the short Return to Practice uni courses are usually either free or bursaries available.
Here's one I found yesterdayfor nursing. I think it's the same for other types of health job too.