Returning to paid employment after caring duties

(33 Posts)
returnfrommars Sat 25-May-19 11:38:24

Can I ask for advice on how to return to paid work after maternity leave turned into caring duties for ASD DC?

I have an undergraduate degree (humanities) and was studying for another (computing) with a view to returning to work and also to keep my brain up and running.

I have not been in paid employment for over a decade now, so I am aware that any potential employer will simply not progress my application further due to a lack of recent experience.

The thing is this - as a carer I have been exceptionally proactive in tackling discrimination issues and have dealt with the governing bodies such as NMC, GMC, Ombudsman, Children's Commissioner in addition to MPs and others. None of this has been in any official capacity and I don't have a named role to play in terms of my activities. I haven't been able to do any regular voluntary work due to my caring committments.

I am, however, very robust and have gained so much more experience than I ever did whilst in regular paid employment. I have developed strengths I did not know I had as a result of the extreme stress I have been subjected to.

I regularly check the Civil Service vacancies website but the gap of over a decade is, understandably, likely to kill any chance of me being considered for a position.

There is the minimum requirements scheme for disabled people applying for jobs but sadly no such scheme for carers (and there are thousands like me) to help return to work.

Ideally I would like a position in which I can use my experience to make a difference but am aware that there will be stiff competition from others who have recent experience in a formal role.

I would not be prepared to work in nursing / teaching / social care type positions. I am very keen to move away from this as I have found my caring role very stressful and just want to move on to fresh territory.

Any advice? smile

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returnfrommars Sat 25-May-19 11:45:17

I am competent with MS Office application and have good IT skills - but of course these have not been aired professionally for some time.

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returnfrommars Sat 25-May-19 12:08:50

I have had my CV assessed by the uni careers service, who have described it as well developed - but I still have the gaping absence of employment to account for.

If I was interviewed I would be able to talk my way through this - but of course getting there is the problem.

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StrippingTheVelvet Sat 25-May-19 12:19:22

I think the reality is getting a job, any job, when you're unemployed is really hard. Taking a basic level job in caring, retail etc would massively help your chances building on to something you're more interested in.

returnfrommars Sat 25-May-19 12:29:19

I would utterly hate a caring job - after a decade of very traumatic caring I simply could not do it. I do not have the temperament for this role.

I need advice on how to return to an office based role.

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StrippingTheVelvet Sat 25-May-19 12:37:55

What about retail, catering etc? I specialise in disability employment and everyone wants admin. It's a much easier, quicker route to take a temporary job in something less desirable and progress quickly to something else than to get there from unemployed.

You could join an agency but again, everyone with experience will be given preference.

returnfrommars Sat 25-May-19 13:41:51

Taking a basic level job in caring, retail etc hmm

The attitude that caring is a basic job that literally anyone can do is one of the contributory factors in cases like Whorlton Hall & Winterbourne View.

Caring has, for me, been horrifically stressful to the point that I suffer PTSD symptoms.

Taking a retail job is also not an option due to the costs of childcare for 3 DC, 2 of whom have disabilities. I would have a financial deficit without being able to justify it as investment in future career. It would also create a situation where I then have the problem of escaping retail.

It would be better financially and for our home situation to continue studying.

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jellybeanteaparty Sat 25-May-19 13:50:15

If childcare impossible for a retail job how will you manage for an admin or other job? Are you needing a job where you can work from home? It's a shame you are discounting social care/ advocacy type work as you would have transferable skills and could work for somewhere like CAB or a charity.
A spell doing volentary admin work could help your CV or try setting up a work from home business like virtual personal assistant.

sar302 Sat 25-May-19 13:53:44

I agree with you that caring should not be considered to be a basic job - because of the outcomes you mentioned - but in reality, it is seen that way in the UK. It's one of the few jobs you can enter with very few professional skills, which is why people mention it.

The reality is that after a decade, you are unlikely to walk into many roles that pay enough for childcare for 3 children - 2 with additional needs. Many people who have worked their whole lives can't afford that.

If you have an interest in IT, I would throw everything in that direction, not just a university course, but learning in your own time, programming languages, basics architecture skills, understanding systems etc. If you can build the core skills needed for a junior developer role, you may be able to land a job that doesn't require much experience, pays reasonably well for a "first job", and will give you something to stimulate your brain.

StrippingTheVelvet Sat 25-May-19 13:54:09

No need to get shirty when I was taking the time to give you genuine advice.

returnfrommars Sat 25-May-19 13:58:04

Social care or advocacy is just not something I could even bear to do. I need to move away from such work.

Voluntary admin I would be prepared to do within school hours. I have tried to acquire this type of work - sadly with no success. There is a volunteer website in our town which advertises various roles but none of them have even responded to my applications.

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NoBaggyPants Sat 25-May-19 13:59:15

Are you willing to look further than your town, is there a city nearby?

What salary are you looking for?

mimibunz Sat 25-May-19 14:00:34

Your best bet might be signing on with a couple of temp agencies. They will test your MS skills and get you on their books. That’s what I did after being out of work for a couple of years. Good luck!

GreenTulips Sat 25-May-19 14:03:05

So you have a covering letter op?

I would look at the advert and state all the additional skills you bring

I am organised, I can work under pressure. I am sociable and make others feel welcome - type of thing - this is where you are probably selling yourself short

Lots of employers know mums can mulitask and organise and still have energy to look at finances

returnfrommars Sat 25-May-19 14:03:54

Learning java etc is something I've been studying as part of my uni studies, I am not at a level where I would be proficient or confident enough to apply for a job though.

I simply cannot bear to do anything care related due to my awful experience of being a carer and dealing with the institutionalised discrimination in virtually every organisation. I am sorry if that sounds negative but as stated above I have PTSD symptoms and just can not do this any more.

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SpeckledyHen Sat 25-May-19 14:04:29

Go to a decent agency and start with temp work possibly ? Gets experience on your C.V as a start point .
Or become a C A B advisor on a voluntary basis - highly respected on a CV .

returnfrommars Sat 25-May-19 14:04:35

I think I will just resume studying.

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Dollywilde Sat 25-May-19 14:05:23

How about call centre work, if there are any near you? It can be a springboard into admin (if you’re using a computer system, tracking appointments etc) if you find the right one, and because of the shift set up it may have a bit of flexibility around your caring arrangements.

FWIW I do understand not wanting to continue caring professionally after experiencing it personally.

returnfrommars Sat 25-May-19 14:05:30

Yes, maybe CAB would work - I will look into this.

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SpeckledyHen Sat 25-May-19 14:06:24

Crossed post with Mini !

returnfrommars Sat 25-May-19 14:07:44

I did actually get a call centre job a couple of years ago - but although the hours were very flexible the initial training was Mon-Fri and I couldn't find childcare. No family, or other, help available sadly.

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Dollywilde Sat 25-May-19 14:10:03

Might be worth giving it another go? You may find one more willing to do flexible training.

returnfrommars Sat 25-May-19 14:13:38

Sadly agency work (which I did pre DC and enjoyed very much) is out due to childcare issues. Agencies like people to be available at short notice - which I cannot do.

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returnfrommars Sat 25-May-19 14:15:19

I will register again with the agency for call centre work and see what they can offer. Call centre work is quite enjoyable.

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Stuckforthefourthtime Sat 25-May-19 14:19:32

What were you doing before? Can you volunteer in something related, even if it's not a specific area of interest? Or presumably you've worked with various non profit organisations related to your DC, perhaps you could speak with one of them - double benefit of your experience likely being helpful for them, and also potentially being a stepping stone into a future job for you.

There are also 'returner' schemes in some organisations specifically designed for people returning to work after a caring break.

No matter what you do, you may have to accept in the early days that you won't be bringing much in after paying for childcare. Thats a price a huge number of women pay when first returning to work after even a short break, let alone 19 years - however children get older, you get more experiencexoerience, and in the meantime you.are building up your CV, paying national insurance and into a pension too.

Keeping studying is surely not the answer unless it is likely to lead to a specific job, otherwise you're just using up more money and time while your CV gap lengthens.

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