Resources to help carers who are either looking for work or are currently working
Negotiating Flexible working can prove to be tricky, but these tips from Timewise in our latest Winter 2018 Carers magazine could help - p.11
Timewise has partnered with the Department of Health and Social Care to create a bespoke hub/one-stop shop for people with caring responsibilities who are looking for part-time or flexible work. As well as plenty of flexible jobs, the new hub offers ideas and advice to carers on topics such as how to ask for flexibility at interviews. There is also information about employers who have positive flexible working strategies and who pride themselves on creating inclusive, diverse workplaces.
(This information was first published in the Carers magazine, back copies of the magazine are available here).
The Working and Caring Partnership meeting covered a range of topics in relation to employment whilst caring such as the National Action Plan for carers, carers hubs and experiences of carers in the workplace. To read more, https://carersinbeds.org.uk/latest-stories/329-partnership
I gave up work in 2011, after spending six years juggling caring for my wife, Mary, with working in London as a financial controller. During Mary's frequent stays in hospital, I would regularly spend a busy day at work, commute home to Leighton Buzzard by train, drive an hour to High Wycombe hospital along winding roads and lanes, visit Mary, get home at 11pm, gulp down a meal, and then do the same the next day.
When I discovered in 2011 that Mary would not recover from Guillain Barre Symdrome, I resigned from my job so we could have whatever time Mary had left together. I spent the following four years as a full time carer. Your life changes immediately when you finish work; your network of business friends and colleagues disappear overnight. I also find that visits from family and friends also diminished and Mary being a 'people' person certainly felt this.
Mary died in 2015. Over the following months and years, I moved on, and I am very happy to say I met my lovely wife Margaret and inherited a beautiful family and grandchildren. I also wanted to get back into work; not necessarily the position I had left, but I didn't imagine it would be so difficult.
I visited a job club to revise my CV. I was told "Don't say you've been a carer, don't give any dates in which you weren't in employment." I found that a little strange but went along with it. I took my CV to a local employment agency, and they said, "Where have you been for these missing years?"
Several times I submitted my CV, either nothing would happen or I would be told, "Sorry, it is the caring gap." One agency who had been very keen to help me find work said, "The decision you made to care for your wife was admirable. I hope I would be able to make that decision if I was to face this problem. But you see it is because you took time out of work that it is difficult to find a position for you."
Trevor has now changed profession and works locally. He also volunteers for Carers in Bedfordshire as a local ambassador.
(This information was first published in the Carers magazine, back copies of the magazine are available here)
Editor's note: Trevor's story is unfortunate and the Government is working to prevent this sort of thing from happening. They have commissioned Timewise to set up a hub for carers looking to return to work or looking to for flexible work.