The job market now and how it affects carers

The job market now and how it affects carers

Evidence that the pandemic has affected carers significantly more than non carers is growing, and it points to carers being affected in all areas of their lives. The Office for National Statistics has just published a report that shows hard hitting evidence about the ways that carers have been affected, all to their detriment. You can read it here:

In terms of work, it shows that carers are more likely to work part time, and more carers have had to give up work during the pandemic. There are also more carers in the 55 to 64 age bracket than other age brackets. If you are a carer, this means that you will have to break several barriers to work in a competitive market. In addition, if the main caring activity is to be available at all times (ONS Report, cited above), this will impact on your being able to physically be in a work place.

However, the job market itself has changed massively due to the pandemic. We know that there are vacancies in all sectors, especially hospitality, health and social services, IT, food production, manufacturing, especially in terms of protective gear, and information and communication, to name a few. Now that we are starting to open up again, demand for staff is growing. In addition, the traditional office workspace is undergoing a sea change, with more employees working from home, and employers implementing blended work patterns.

This then may be an opportunity for carers looking to get back into work. Reed have reported that 91% of all job applications at the moment are for `work from home’ jobs. This may be ideal for carers who want to work, but do not want to compromise their caring responsibilities. The urge to fill job vacancies may mean that employers are more willing to consider flexibility in terms of hours,  and may pay more for certain skills. This is where the valuable transferable skills that carers have could come in.

If you are thinking about returning to work, think about your transferable skills, not least being able to juggle several tasks at once. Many people now are thinking about working in sectors they have never worked in before, and there is willingness on the part of employers to consider everyone on their merits and ability to do the job, as opposed to real experience in the industry. You can also gain virtual experience in some sectors, so think about your skill fit. This is a time of enormous change for the job market, and it would be well to position yourself to take advantage of new opportunities.

Most employers are now conducting virtual interviews, and there are techniques for doing these interviews well.  Here is one website that will give you tips for how to do these: How to Prepare for a Virtual Interview: 10 Tips for Success (wikijob.co.uk)  There are many more.

You need to think about how you present yourself, and how you can put your points across succinctly and powerfully. The Working for Carers Programme offers advice and support to get carers back into work, and have had success in getting carers back into the workplace despite the pandemic. In addition, they offer workshops on workplace resilience, workplace rights, and coping with new circumstances.  They are a valuable support if you want to go back to work, but do not know how to go about it.  You can find out more about them here:

Working for Carers – Carers Trust

Many carers are worried about whether they will lose their Carers Allowance if they go back to work. This is not the case, but there is a cap on earnings for Carers Allowance. You can earn up to £128 per week before Carers Allowance is affected. For more information, please see here: Carer’s Allowance – Citizens Advice or go to the Citizens’ Advice website.

It is a changing world out there for people in work, or who are looking for work, but there are opportunities. This could be the time that you, as a carer, could get something back for yourself. You have nothing to lose by trying, and a lot to gain, for yourself and your community.

Working for Carers is a London-wide project that supports unpaid carers, aged 25 or over, to move closer to employment. The project is led by Carers Trust and delivered by its network of partners across London. Working for Carers is funded by the European Social Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund. Contact Working for Carers on 020 8868 5224 Ext 218/208.

How Could Life Be Like For Carers After Lockdown?

How Could Life Be Like For Carers After Lockdown?

As the nation is moving into step four of the easing of lockdown, the government is removing COVID-19 prevention measures as we try and return to normal life.

As of July 19th, wearing masks in most public spaces will no longer be a legal requirement but the government is still asking  people to take caution and responsibility for keeping themselves and others safe from infection.

Guidance published by the government says they “expect and recommends that people continue to wear a face covering in crowded, enclosed spaces.”

This guidance also applies to factories, construction sites, offices and close contact services like hairdressers. Businesses will now be responsible for making and enforcing any face mask rules from Monday 19th July, if they deem necessary.

Here are some of the main operators and places that have specified their rules on face coverings:

Bars, pubs and restaurants

Pub chains like Wetherspoons have said customers are no longer required to wear masks, but they still require staff to wear face coverings in certain cases.

Other famous pubs like Greene King have promised that punters will be allowed to walk up to a bar and order a pint, without being asked to wear a mask. Both pubs also confirmed that they will no longer use the Test and Trace app to check customers for COVID symptoms.

Masks will also no longer be obligatory in public spaces. This means those dining at restaurants will be able to do so freely without wearing a mask.

Supermarkets

Supermarkets like Tesco and Sainsbury’s will be encouraging workers and customers to continue wearing face coverings if they can. Others like Lidl will have signs at entrances to remind shoppers that mask wearing is recommended by the government.

How does removing the preventive measures affect carers?

Getting vaccinated

All eligible unpaid carers are in Priority Group 6 and should have no been invited for a vaccine. If you are an unpaid carer, check here if you’re eligible for the vaccine.

Alternatively, give Harrow Carers a call at  020 8868 5224, and we’d be delighted to find out for you.

Support

As a carer, it’s vital you receive support and you know what’s available to you.

You may also be entitled to additional benefits as a carer that you may not be aware of. Give us a call at 020 8868 5224 if you’re unsure, as you may be missing out on financial support.

You don’t need to feel guilty about accepting help. Remember that there is only so much you can do – try to accept that sometimes you may need help.

Personal protective equipment (PPE)

If you are a carer, it may be important to take some precaution measures as you don’t want to endanger the person you are caring for.

If you are also transitioning away from remote work, the government are offerring free PPE for COVID-19 needs to unpaid carers who don’t live with the person they care for. PPE is equipment that will protect you against health or safety risks at work. If you don’t live with the person you caring for, it is recommended that you wear PPE when delivering care.

Maintaining relationships with family and friends

Now that restrictions have been lifted, we may eventually want to connect with our friends and family again (not through Zoom anymore!)

Keeping in contact with your friends and family can be a great way to let off steam. You can talk about your emotions and what you’re going through. If you don’t feel like talking, you could catch a movie or even attend a fitness class.

As always. we’re always here to help. If you are a carer and unsure about how you’ll cope after the pandemic, call us on 020 8868 5224 for free consultation

Working for Carers is a London-wide project that supports unpaid carers, aged 25 or over, to move closer to employment. The project is led by Carers Trust and delivered by its network of partners across London. Working for Carers is funded by the European Social Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund. Contact Working for Carers on 020 8868 5224 Ext 218/208.

How to Balance Caring Responsibilities With Work

How to Balance Caring Responsibilities With Work

Looking after someone while working can be a lot to handle at once. You might be concerned about the person you care about while you work, and this may a negative impact on your well-being. It can be helpful to know about some of your rights at work and think about what can help you manage your caring and work responsibilities

1. The right to flexible working

Looking after someone can be exhausting and take up a lot of your time. If you also have to work, you may be entitled to request flexible working arrangements from your employer to help fulfil your responsibilities.

Flexible working can involve changing your work hours – you could start work earlier or finish later to help juggle your caring responsibilities. It could also mean to work remotely part-time or all of the time. You’re allowed to make a single request for flexible working each year. Your employer is legally obligated to consider your request, but they are allowed to refuse provided they have good business reasons. Therefore, it’s important to consider how the business will be affected, and how your manager may take it. Provide as much as information as possible about how you can continue to help the business from home, or how you can deal with any negative impacts your manager may be concerned with.

2. The right to time off in an emergency

There may be times when you can’t go in to work because of an emergency situation involving the person you’re caring for. If you’re responsible for another person, you have the right to time off in an emergency. You must inform your employer as soon as possible after the emergency has happened. These situations could include your normal care arrangements being cancelled, or if the person you care for dies or suffers an injury.

It’s also no surprise that happy employees produce better work. Employers who take active steps in taking care of their employees’ physical and mental well-being at work can help to keep staff turnover rate low. Here are a few tips:

Create a positive environment for carers

Research conducted by Carers UK show that carers really value having an understanding line manager and a supportive employer. Create a supportive environment where there is no stigma attached to carers identifying themselves. Display posters and newsletters on staff notice boards, outlining some of the carer-related benefits that they may not be aware of, such as carers allowance.

Having a carers’ support network

Identifying carers can be difficult. In fact, one in seven are responsible for supporting for their loved ones who are older, disabled or in a serious condition. Chances are you may have a few carers in your workplace, and perhaps they would feel more comfortable if they had someone to talk to about it – someone in a similar position to them.

Employers should try and provide information to carers about existing workplace carer support groups and what external support is available. Even if this isn’t exactly the type of support they want, it can still be helpful to communicate regularly via company polices or signposting posters to let them know that support is always available. It could also include contacting carers’ centres to receive personal advice on how to make the workplace a reassuring environment

Prioritise training for carers

A carer may feel that they are lacking progression at work, and perhaps forgotten about (even more so due to remote working). They may find it difficult to concentrate on their career, because they aren’t provided with the right support. Make it easy for people to understand what support is on offer for carers – provide additional training courses, seminars and subscriptions to further their learning. The people are the most valuable resource to a company and developing individuals and teams is the key to keeping people and organisations moving forward.

As always, we are here to help. If you feel you need more support with your role as a carer so that you can stay in employment, contact Harrow Carers at 020 8868 5224. We can offer you individually tailored support regarding your career, application advice, interviews, benefits you may be entitled to and much, much more…

Working for Carers are running a session on Balancing Working and Caring on Thursday 19th August – please click here for more information.

Working for Carers is a London-wide project that supports unpaid carers, aged 25 or over, to move closer to employment. The project is led by Carers Trust and delivered by its network of 24 partners across London. Working for Carers is funded by the European Social Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund. Call 020 8868 5224 Ext 218/208

 

 

Transferable Skills For Carers Returning to the Workplace

Transferable Skills For Carers Returning to the Workplace

Carers often express that they have little to no skills or experience to offer when they are considering returning to work – “I’m just a carer, I don’t have anything to offer”. The truth is, being an unpaid carer and looking after your loved ones gives you a wide range of experience, knowledge, and skills that you can bring to the workplace. It can be helpful to take a step back and look at all the transferable skills you’ve gained over the years.

There’s a simple exercise to this.

Make a list of your daily tasks

On a piece of paper, list out all the skills you have developed through your caring role that you think would be useful in the workplace. If this is a struggle, write down exactly what you do on a daily basis for an entire week.

“I have to pick up medication every Monday and book an appointment with our doctor every Wednesday”.

So, you may have superb organisation and time-management skills. It could also mean being able to locate documents quickly, or maintaining an up-to-date calendar. Staying organised can help one identify and prioritise what tasks need to be complete and when.

You could consider event planning or being a personal assistant, especially if you’re great at arranging appointments and running errands on behalf of others. Take a look through these fifteen job ideas; they’re suitable for organised people like yourself.

“I regularly communicate our situation to our doctor, and listen attentively to their advice”.

These are examples of excellent communication skills. These are vital in helping you get hired, land promotions, and be a success throughout your career. Being a good listener goes a long way too. This means to pay close attention to what the other person is saying, asking clarifying questions, and rephrasing what the person says to ensure understanding (“So, what you’re saying is…”). Your colleagues will love this as it shows you can truly engage in conversations.

If you excel at communication, you could consider a role in human resources. These specialists are usually responsible for finding the best candidate for the job. You’d be responsible for interviewing potential candidates or setting up meetings with managers. Although a degree in management or human resources is preferred, employers can consider your application if you have a degree related to marketing or communication.

If you don’t have a related degree, don’t fret. Here are more examples of careers for people with good communication skills.

“I help with personal care such as support with showering and dressing”.

So, you may have a tremendous amount of patience. A large portion of careers need some level of patience. For example, if you’re handling a customer complaint it’s important that you try to understand and sympathise with their situation.

Perhaps you’re not interested in sales or customer service, that’s perfectly fine. There are plenty of other jobs out there that require patience. You could consider being a childcare worker. Often your role would entail helping children with their school work, or being required to feed or bathe them if they’re younger.

If you don’t want any jobs that are similar to your caring responsibilities, you could look into animal trainers. These require a great level of patience as you’ll teach animals to recognise and respond to various calls and commands. If you love interacting with animals, this might be the job for you!

Here are more jobs that require patience skills.

We’re always here to help

When you think about it, the skills, qualities and experience of an unpaid carer are extensive. Writing out your daily tasks and the skills associated with each one makes it easy to identify which ones are transferable to the workplace. You’ll also find out which of your skills are more developed, as these would relate to the tasks that are often repeated.

We hope that by reading today’s post and completing the exercise above, it has helped with your confidence and given your CV a boost. If you need any help with job applications or interviews, give Harrow Carers a call at 020 8868 5224 for free consultation.

Working for Carers is a London-wide project that supports unpaid carers, aged 25 or over, to move closer to employment. The project is led by Carers Trust and delivered by its network of partners across London. Working for Carers is funded by the European Social Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund.  Contact Working for Carers on 020 8868 522 Ext 218/208.

5 Tips for Carers to Improve Your Health and Well-being

5 Tips for Carers to Improve Your Health and Well-being

Caring can be a rewarding experience, but it can also take a mental and physical toll. To continue providing care to their loved ones, it’s vital that carers stays healthy. But when you’re looking after someone else, it’s easy to forget your own health needs. Sure, there may be times where it’s difficult to think about anything else, and sometimes carers may feel they aren’t doing enough. But you are human too. It’s important to think about your own health and well-being .

Being healthy is not only vital for you, but it is also beneficial to the person you care for. If you have a good sleep schedule, you will have more patience and energy. If you have access to more financial or emotional support, you will be in a better position to support the people you are looking after.

Here are five tips to help improve your health and well-being, especially if your caring responsibilities are physically and emotionally draining you out.

Making Time for Regular Exercise

It can be difficult to find the time when you have caring responsibilities. You may be worn out, but taking some time out to exercise can be beneficial to your physical and mental health. Think about a good time to fit this in, and give your own needs the same importance as others.

A simple stroll in the park can help declutter your mind and keep your joints healthy. Consider joining a virtual exercise class if you prefer to exercise with others. The NHS have a great resource about fitness, tutorials and exercises you can do from the comfort of your own home. Consider doing exercises with the person you support, if appropriate.

Having a Healthy Diet

It can be difficult to maintain your caring responsibilities if you don’t have the right nutrition to fuel your day. It can be easy to forget while caring, and it’s much easier to snack on processed foods when you feel there isn’t enough time. Try and eat a varied diet of fruits and vegetables, as well as having healthy protein in each meal. Try not to let stress or boredom lead to over-indulging on snacks.

Here are a few healthy-eating tips to try:

Having a healthy breakfast each day. It’s a great way to start the day with some fibre, and it will help you stay away on unhealthy snacks throughout the day.

Adding more fruits and vegetables. The NHS guideline recommends at least 5 portions of fruits and vegetables a day.

Staying hydrated. Water regulates your body temperature, lubricates your joints and gives you energy throughout the day. Most adults need around 2 to 2.5 litres of fluid a day.

Receiving additional support

It’s perfectly fine in asking for help when you need it. If you’ve sustained physical injuries from lifting the person you cared for, consider asking your GP to refer you to a physiotherapist. You may also be entitled to additional benefits as a carer that you may not be aware of. Give us a call at 020 8868 5224 if you’re unsure, as you may be missing out on financial support.

You don’t need to feel guilty about accepting help. Remember that there is only so much you can do – try to accept that sometimes you may need help.

Taking Care of Yourself

Although caring is rewarding, it’s often extremely exhausting and can leave you with little time to yourself. It’s important you still make time for any interests and the things you love to do. Even if it’s just 15 minutes a day – taking the time to care for yourself can go a long way. You are human too, after all. It could be reading a book, taking a hot bath, doing some gardening – whatever you fancy.

Staying connected with others

Keeping in contact with your friends and family can be a great way to let off steam. You can talk about your emotions and what you’re going through. If you don’t feel like talking, you could try reading books together, attending a pottery class, or playing games online.

You can also attend our group workshops at Harrow Carers. Our workshops provide an opportunity to meet other carers and share experiences. Remember that you aren’t alone and we’re here to help. Finding others in similar situations can be extremely rewarding and can help you both physically and emotionally. They’re likely to have gone through the same experiences as you – it’s a chance to let off steam, share frustrations or seek some advice.

Being an effective carer is difficult if you ignore your own health, as you may lose the ability to cope over time. Life is really challenging right now, but we’re always here to help. If you are a carer and require extra support, feel free to call us at 020 8868 5224.

Working for Carers is a London-wide project that supports unpaid carers, aged 25 or over, to move closer to employment. The project is led by Carers Trust and delivered by its network of partners across London. Working for Carers is funded by the European Social Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund. Contact Working for Carers on 020 8868 5224 Ext 218/208.