Providing tailored positive careers guidance to carers24 October 2017
Being involved in the Positive Career Choices work was really different. I had never done anything like this before, and neither had the young people I support. It was really interesting. We recruited a few champions – young adult carers who regularly get involved with extra activities with us – and then opened up the work to all our carers. We held a number of consultation events where carers came along and looked at the resources, and gave their comments, ideas and suggestions. We also held individual sessions with carers who couldn’t make the group events. Our champions also went with us to Leicester for the day to view the prototypes of the resources that we had produced!
Providing careers guidance specific to carers is vital. Their lives aren’t necessarily as straight forward as those of their peers. They may have had negative experiences of education. They might have low aspirations and self-esteem. But most importantly, they have commitments that they can’t just turn their back on. This can make looking for work tricky for them, and so this needs a tailored approach. Since being involved in the pilot, I have certainly started to allow more time for dealing with carers and their career-related issues. Before, I was probably guilty of underestimating how complex the issue is. In fact, I would have tried to signpost them to a specialist careers agency, whereas now I realise that I need to be doing this with them.
The young adult carers and I particularly liked the snakes and ladders game. It works well for groups and with individuals. We are currently planning a future session called “what employers want” and will include resources that were developed through the project, along with the old reliable RUBLE!
Carer Support Worker