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Transferable skills of family carers increasingly recognised by carer friendly employers.

People in an unpaid caring role at home can often find it difficult to enter or maintain paid employment.

WA is currently experiencing a job boom.  Increasingly, the hidden skills and attributes of family carers, seeking paid employment, are being recognised by “carer friendly” employers.

Carers WA ‘Be Job Ready’ program was developed to help address the bridge between job seeking carers and employers.  The program assists people who are eligible, aged between 14 and 65, who are a carer or have been in a caring role in the past 12 months.  Participants are offered an opportunity to review their caring role and link to relevant supports and are then guided to identify their own transferable skills and attributes for the workplace.  These can include an excellent ability to organise, plan and multi-process, reliability, a willingness to listen, a natural passion for helping others, adaptability to change plus great communication and problem-solving skills.

Family carers, Zahra and Lisa, both completed, the Carers WA ‘Be Job Ready’ program in late 2021.  They were provided with vocational goal planning, resume building tips, interview techniques, job search and technology skills and individualised support tailored to their goals. Mission Australia, an organisation that supports creating ‘carer friendly’ workplaces, quickly recognised Zahra and Lisa’s transferable skills and attributes.  Now both women are meaningfully employed as Local Area Co-Ordinators, roles which allow them the flexibility they need to still meet their care requirements at home.

Zahra said; “Finding the right fit for a single parent carer of a child with special needs is hard.  It takes a lot of courage to take the first step into the workplace again. I loved meeting and doing all the activities with the amazing fellow carers and facilitators who gave me a boost of confidence to see my own qualities. In my new role, I enjoy the benefit of socialising with work colleagues and feeling an active member of society, with a sense of purpose, motivation and self respect.”

Lisa said; “I had been out of the workforce, as a professional engineer, for so long, needing to care fulltime for my daughter.   I didn’t think I had any skills until the ‘Be Job Ready’ program helped me to reimagine myself and what I was actually capable of.  It was great fun, too, and the group of carers I met were fantastic!”

Mission Australia North East Metro Service Area Manager, Joy Norton, said: “At Mission Australia we strive to have a workforce that is representative of the people we serve.  Working with Carers WA to create a “carer friendly” workplace in collaboration with their Be Job Ready Program has been invaluable in gaining the insight of carers during our recruitment processes. We have also engaged graduates of this program in employment. Carers are a vital part of the fabric of our communities and it is wonderful to see a program in place to support them to identify their transferrable skills. Employing carers is an important facet of our workforce strategy as they bring highly sought after and important lived experience to the services we provide.”

Carers WA CEO, Mr Paul Coates, said: “Carers WA works with other carer friendly employers across private, government and not-for-profit organisations.   The unique skills and attributes our ‘Be Job Ready’ graduates can bring to a paid role is immense, proving mutually beneficial outcomes, for them and their employers.”

For further information on Carers WA ‘Be Job Ready’ program and “Carer friendly” employer resources and accreditation, visit: https://www.carerswa.asn.au/our-services/carers-in-employment-program/