We all have different roles – some days I can be a carer, mum, careers consultant, friend, finance manager, admin worker, first aider, grown up daughter, cook, cleaner, event organiser… The list is endless.
I bet some of you recognise this, especially if you’re juggling caring responsibilities with your studies and other commitments. But what about your goals and career plans? OU Careers Consultant Jackie shares her advice.
Around 7.6 million people in the UK (15% of the population) are carers looking after a parent, partner, child or friend. Here at the OU we know the flexible way of learning fits well with busy lives and we have lots of students who are caring for family members or friends. Have a look at the OU Students’ Association to find out about student clubs and societies you could get involved in. There are also lots of sources of information and ways to connect with other carers on the Carers UK website.
You might think you don’t have the right skills for that job you’re dreaming of, think again! What are the most sought-after skills by employers? Communication, Teamwork, Negotiation, Planning and Organisation, and Problem solving are all up there. I bet you use these skills most days, I know I do caring for my mum. You might be negotiating with family members, communicating with Social Services, or problem solving when you need to be in two places at once! Use this employability skills audit to list all the things you do in your daily life and in your study that demonstrate top skills you can transfer to the workplace. I bet you meet most of them.
If you want to get back into the workplace our Developing your Career alongside Caring webinar will help you think about ways into employment, building your confidence, updating your CV and your rights as a carer.
You might want to consider different, more flexible ways of working to build up your work experience. Use OpportunityHub to search all types of vacancies from voluntary work or paid internships to part-time and full-time roles.
And don’t forget you can request an individual careers consultation where we can talk about your situation, your career ideas and what your next steps might be.
Hope that’s helped a bit, don’t forget how great you are doing! I’d better go now as I need to make a doctor’s appointment for my mum…
OU Careers Consultant Jackie