Top tips for young carers starting work

Graphic shows a young person and a an older person hugging - depicting a young carer and the person they care for

My name is Daisy Falconer and I’m the Young Carers Programme Manager at Carers Trust. I have worked closely with organisations to provide young people with training opportunities and access to employment.

A guide to starting work as a young carer

Young and young adult carers are truly inspiring – they provide invaluable support to their loved ones and have gone through an incredibly tough two years during this pandemic. But as life starts to go back to ‘normal’, this group of young people will be navigating how to continue to care whilst transitioning into employment. With all that is going on in their day to day lives, stepping into the employment space is going to feel daunting, frustrating and nerve wracking.

Working at Carers Trust, I have had the opportunity of supporting young people who are in this position. I wanted to share some tips I have gained from supporting carers to enter the new chapter of their lives…

Start with the foundations

  • Create your CV and a cover letter. You can find plenty of support online, check out The Prince’s Trust’s top tips
  • Most job applications are now online, so don’t worry if your CV isn’t perfect! You will use it a lot as a template to fill in online applications.

Explaining your role as a young and young adult carer

If you are comfortable to, let your future employer know about your caring role. I’d suggest putting it at the beginning, in your personal statement.

Transferable skills

If you are comfortable to, highlight your caring role. Chances are, you’ve picked up lots of amazing skills! An example of this might be:

Organisation: e.g., calling the pharmacy, booking appointments, knowing when things day-to-day need prioritising.

Get it all down!

Future employers will want to see your skills and capabilities (YOU WILL HAVE TONNES!). Make a list of all the things you do caring and think about how they can transfer into a job. Start with your studies, volunteering, any groups you are part of – don’t forget your caring responsibilities!

An example of how this might look is: “Due to my role as a young adult carer, I often talk to health care professionals, support my family with their budget, and buy the weekly food shopping, I can manage my time, communicate confidently to professionals and take responsibility.”

Worried about gaps in school or employment?

Be honest – put down that you have been caring. An employer will understand this.

What to expect if you’ve never been in employment

I often ask young carers who are in work, and they always say the same thing; be true to yourself, try to balance your home and working life AND remember that you will have days when it’s not easy, you will want to quit, BUT persevere and enjoy the little moments where you’re learning new skills and meeting new people.

Unless your first job is your dream role, it will be an adjustment! A good employer will support your caring role and if you are comfortable to, let them know your situation and your eagerness to work and support the person you care for. Chances are that your employer will work with colleagues in the same position.

Carer’s rights

Read up about your rights as a carer and worker, check out these links:

Carers Trust – Support for working carers

Carers Trust – Know your rights young carers

People First – Juggling work and care

Turn2us –  Young people and benefits, young carers

Networking

We all do it without realising. Anytime you chat to a teacher, a new friend on social media, a family friend, or a shop assistant at the till – you are networking! Tap into your contacts – ask your teacher if they know where there may be opportunities for internships or apprenticeships or ask a manager in your local shop if they have any job opportunities… Chances are, the more people you meet (and this includes virtually) the easier it will become to network and ask.

Prioritise your mental health

Your wellbeing is the most important part. If you need support, head to The Mix’s website which has a hub page for carers with lots of content and support, group chats and access to counselling.

Get support

There are so many amazing organisations that can help you on your way to employment, check out:

As corny as it sounds, Remember…

  • Be yourself
  • Show your value
  • Embrace uncertainty
  • Be organised

Not sure if you are a carer? The Mix has created a tool to help you work it out and to help you find the advice and support you need.

Next Steps

  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.
  • Need help but confused where to go locally? Download our StepFinder iPhone app to find local support services quickly.

By Holly Turner

Updated on 02-Sep-2021

Sorry, comments closed