Nationally, 20% of 50-64 year olds provide unpaid care. Whilst some people will be balancing this with their paid work, there are over 2 million economically inactive people due to “looking after their family/home” in the UK, 89% of which are women. Research has shown that when women return to work following unpaid caring, they are twice as likely to return to part time work than men and earn 2% less for every year spent out of work. *
Caring, Working, Living is a 12-month project funded by the Government Equalities Office to address some of these issues. Working alongside the GM Chamber of Commerce, we will be working with employers across Greater Manchester to support them to develop their understanding of flexible working options, such as flexible start and finish times; term-time working and annualised hours. We will also support employers to look at their recruitment practices to ensure they are inclusive to parents and carers, aligned to the values of the GM Good Employment Charter.
At the same time, we will link parents and carers looking to return to paid employment, Returners, to local organisations providing CV and job searching support. We also share information about relevant training events; services and stories of interest on our Facebook page for Returners. We are able to provide some financial support to Returners for employment and interview costs, such as travel to a work place visit or interview or towards the cost of alternative care or childcare to attend an employment opportunity or interview.
We will work with employers to provide opportunities such as workplace visits; short term work experience or placements; and longer Returnships with greater opportunities to secure permanent employment.
Alex Whinnom, Chief Executive of GMCVO said “Caring, Working, Living is an important project for GMCVO because enabling parents and carers to achieve their full potential as employees is important for individuals and businesses within Greater Manchester. The skills, knowledge and experience parents and carers have should be acknowledged and celebrated. Here in GM the attitude to flexible working is changing and Caring, Working, Living will certainly play a role in supporting regional priorities including the Good Employment Charter and the Industrial Strategy.”
The Chamber of Commerce echo this, saying “The Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce is proud to be working on the Caring, Working, Living project with GMCVO, which will support both Returners getting back into the workplace and Employers who will benefit from having Returners within their staff.
Employers will have access to an untapped workforce that have skills that can benefit the workplace, meaning they may now be able to fill job roles that have been vacant for a period of time. Returners will benefit by not only utilising their skills to gain employment, but they will work with employers to get interview support and work experience opportunities. The project will enable Returners to gain confidence, increased self-esteem and a sense of self-worth.
The Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce understands the importance and benefits to both Returners and employers in what is still an unsettled and challenging job market and look forward to making sure this is a success.”
Parents or carers can refer themselves to this project by completing a simple form on our website: https://www.gmcvo.org.uk/caringworkingliving/returners
Organisations that provide employment and other support to parents and carers wishing to be part of this project should contact Liz Atkinson at email@example.com or 0161 277 1042.
Further information about Caring, Working, Living can be found on our web page: https://www.gmcvo.org.uk/caringworkingliving
* Addressing worklessness and job insecurity amongst people aged over 50 in Greater Manchester”: Centre for Ageing Better, Nov 2017