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Developing your current skills - and learning new ones

At times you may feel that your whole world revolves around caring, without much room in it for you. If you have been caring for a long time, you may worry that you have lost sight of your own goals, skills and achievements. We help you focus on these and develop skills or interests, whether you still have caring responsibilities or are looking for a new direction following your caring role. 



Why develop your skills?

Finding an interest outside of your caring role is important, especially for your sense of identity and to boost your confidence. Undertaking a short evening course or a degree course could be a great way to do this. 


Note for carers

Making the choice to study may affect your entitlement to benefits so it's a good idea to look into this before making any decisions. For guidance, you can email


Where to start

If you're keen to develop your skills, you could begin by asking yourself the following questions: 

  • Do you want to develop an existing interest or skill or learn a new one? 
  • Where do you want to do your course – do you want to go to an adult education centre or college?  
  • Do you want to do distance learning or e-learning? 
  • How much time do you want to spend learning? 
  • What level of the course do you want to do? 
  • What can you gain through learning? 

There are many free or more affordable options if you wish to develop your skills, training or education online, which is often the best option when you have caring responsibilities. The Open University offers a Carers' Bursary scheme for unpaid carers. If you're interested in applying or finding out more details about the support they can offer, visit their website page. They also offer scholarship opportunities for unpaid carers.


Need further information?

For more detailed information about where to go to find courses and interests, visit our ‘Thinking about returning to work?’ section where there are lots of ideas about courses and suggestions to further your personal development. 

To expand your horizons further, you could join a local carers’ group to gain thoughts and ideas from those in similar circumstances – visit our local directory. Or you could join our online forum. Our forum is a safe and friendly community of carers and former carers who ask questions, and offer support, ideas and tips on a whole range of topics, ranging from practical caring matters to looking after your health and wellbeing. 

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