Working for Carers in the UK
In 2022, Carers Trust published the final evaluation of its Working for Carers project, which supports unpaid carers and former carers, aged 25 and over, to move closer to employment. The project is delivered directly with carers by four Carers Trust Network Partners (local carer organisations), working across all London boroughs. Most support is provided one-to-one with an Employment Personal Advisor, but participants can also access workshops and other peer support activities, as well as volunteering and training opportunities.
Working for Carers is jointly funded by the European Social Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund until June 2023.
Project evaluation findings
Wavehill: social and economic research was commissioned to evaluate the Working for Carers project. Key findings include:
- Working for Carers is by design carer friendly and is likely to appeal to carers seeking to move back into employment. The majority of participants have a current caring role when they register.
- The biggest barrier to moving into employment for carers is finding work or education/training that fits around the caring role; this is followed by low confidence and out-of-date skills.
- The vast majority (82%) are economically inactive (not in employment or actively job-searching) when they register with the project; participants require space to consider their needs and barriers to employment, and make an informed decision about next steps.
- A holistic approach to supporting carers is important, with support needs considered at different stages:
- Pre-employability: individualised work to address barriers to employment; supporting carers to transition into actively seeking work
- Employability: supporting carers to progress into work
- Employment: support for working carers, and encouraging employers to adopt carer friendly policies.
Research with working age carers
Wavehill was also commissioned to conduct quantitative and qualitative research with 200 carers and 25 staff from Network Partners (local carer organisations) to learn more about employability and employment support needs of unpaid carers. The research was published in August 2022. Key findings include:
- Concerns about household finances and the cost of living are a major reason why carers want to find work.
- Carers seeking work have specific needs over and above general employability support, for example advice on balancing work and caring.
- A lack of access to alternative care is a key barrier to carers progressing into employment or balancing their work with caring.
- Carers are concerned about stigma in the workplace and are worried about disclosing their caring role.
- Financial concerns, including loss of benefits, such as Carer’s Allowance, are a barrier to entering work or increasing hours.
- Access to flexible working is very important for carers looking to enter or sustain work.
- More than 1 in 3 working carers report that they are struggling to balance work and their caring role.
- Paid Carer’s Leave may help carers balance work and caring.
The Working for Carers evaluation and research reports are available to download from the Carers Trust website