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Thinking of returning to work?

At some point, you may decide you want to combine work with caring, or you may want to work if your caring role changes or ends.

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The thought of getting back into work can feel like a big step. A good start is to think about what job you might want by recognising your skills and interests, and finding out what support might be available to help you take this step. As a helpful introduction, we've designed a new e-learning programme called Learning for Living. See 'Training courses' below for more detail.

If you are claiming benefits, working or studying might impact these benefits so it would be a good idea to have a benefits check before you make any decisions.

Identifying your skills and interests

If you're not sure what you would like to do and where to begin, you could start by listing the skills and interests you have.

Think about the skills you have gained from:

  • any paid work that you have done
  • any volunteering work you've undertaken
  • your role as a carer

Some examples of possible skills you might have gained from your role as a carer:

  • prioritising and organising
  • time management
  • managing a budget
  • managing a schedule
  • negotiating with professionals
  • learning new skills quickly and efficiently (ie if you needed to learn how to move and handle someone, use certain equipment or administer medication)

Consider your interests:

  • what you enjoy doing
  • how you would like to use your skills
  • things you miss doing that you once did, eg from previous work or volunteering

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You could also have a look on some careers websites to try and identify the sort of job that matches your skills and interests.

The National Careers Service has a Skills Health Check which involves a set of quizzes and activities designed to help you explore your skills and interests. This might be useful to help you decide what job might be right for you.

Once you have identified the kind of jobs that might match your skills and interests, you could then have a look on the National Careers Service Job Profiles, which explain the skills and qualifications needed to get into jobs, what the work would be like, the pay you could expect and what the career prospects are.

Once you have identified possible jobs, you could then look into any training you might need to build your confidence or refresh skills you used to have.

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Training courses

Our Learning for Living e-learning programme has been set up to help carers identify the unique skill set they've gained from their experience of caring. Once recognised, these transferable skills can add significant value to the work setting or local community. The course features a range of modules covering everything from communicating well to effective goal setting. See

If you're trying to work out whether any particular training courses would be suitable for the types of jobs you want, you could get in touch with the National Careers Service. They have advisers who can provide information and guidance on skills and learning.

Alternatively, you could search for specific courses on the National Careers Service website, or speak to any local schools, colleges or universities to see if they run any suitable courses .

Sometimes local advice agencies, like carers' organisations, might know of any local training courses that are suitable for carers.

If you need some help with the cost of any courses, then you could try the following:

  • if you are still looking after someone, you could have a carer’s assessment 
  • there are sometimes grants you can apply for – you could see if there are any local grants by contacting a local advice agency, such as a carers' organisation – you could also run a more general grants search with a charity called Turn 2 Us who have a database of lots of different grant giving organisations
  • there are sometimes specific education grants and bursaries that you can apply for – the website has some information on this for adult learners
  • local educational establishments sometimes offer discounts to people on certain benefits, so if you are claiming benefits or are on a low income, it is worth finding out what discounts or concessions your local educational establishments offer.


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