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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. We suggest ways to identify and develop your skills and gain confidence to find the type of employment you would find fulfilling. 

I’m considering working again but where do I start?

The thought of getting back into work can feel like a big stepA good start is to think about what job you might want by identifying your skills and interests, and finding out what support might be available to help you take this step.  

As a helpful introduction, see our free programme called  Learning for Living – this is useful as a starting point for focusing on yourself, clarifying your goals and planning ahead.  For more details, see ‘What training courses are available?’ 

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. Use this benefits calculator or email our helpline for guidance on


Identify your skills and interests

If you're not sure what you would like to do, it might be helpful to list the skills and interests you have, particularly noting what you’ve found satisfying or fulfilling. 

Consider the skills you have gained from: 

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

Examples of some skills you might have gained from your caring responsibilities: 

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

When thinking about your interests, consider: 

  • 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.


Do some research 

You could 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 certain 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. 


Resource - Timely Careers 

Timely is a social enterprise created by the Women in Business NI Group. Their mission is to remove the obstacles, anxiety and challenges that women who want to return to work often face. Timely Careers enable and empower women, through training and a jobs board, to get back into work or redefine their careers with flexibility, by connecting them to the right support and the right jobs, at the right time for them.

Download the information flyer below and visit to find out more.

Timely Careers information PDF

What training courses are available?

Our Learning for Living e-learning programme is a course that has been set up to help carers specifically. It can help you identify the unique skill set you've gained from your caring experiences. 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 developing skills and training. 

Alternatively, you could search for specific courses on the National Careers Service website – many online courses are free. You could alternatively speak to any local colleges or universities to see if they run any suitable courses. 

Sometimes local advice agencies, like carers' organisations, might know of local training courses that are suitable for carers. To find organisations in your area, use our local directory. 

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

  • 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 websitealso 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. 
  • if you are still looking after someone, you could have a carer’s assessment.  


Some further tips 

If it has been some time since you applied for a job, you can gain lots of guidance online with tips on CV writing and interviews. These sites are worth a look: 

CV library  for guidance on improving your CV 

Monster  for help with interview techniques 

Reed  with tips on preparing for a job interview 

Guardian Jobs– offers advice on job interviews and has a jobs site 

ACAS can also provide a wealth of information on different training programmes as well as useful advice on matters related to returning to work including template letters, job applications, your rights and working practices. 

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