It’s your life
The most important thing you can do is make time to think about your own life. Talking to others about yourself isn’t selfish! Friends, counsellors and the 18-24 team can all help.
In education law, you have a right to have independent careers guidance from a qualified professional in a face-to-face meeting to age 19.
It’s very important to explain your caring role to the careers adviser, and how this influences the decisions you are making. If you need help getting an appointment, contact the 18-24 team.
- Sixth Forms have a responsibility to provide career help to all of their students, considering all options – not just university advice.
- Further Education colleges also have careers advisers, plus information software you can use.
The National Careers Service
The National Careers Service offers phone and webchat contact with a careers adviser. See the website for reliable information on 800+ jobs with links for further information. It also has good advice on the practical steps of applications, CVs and interviews.
Real people talk about their jobs at icloud.
Do you want to help others?
All carers have learned skills and experienced the rewards that come with caring. It can be easy to fall into a caring occupation without stopping to think.
How would you feel about studying nursing all day and coming home to care? It might be fine for you, it might not.
There are many different ways to ‘help others’. Don’t limit your thinking to healthcare professions. Financial advisers, lab technicians, personal trainers, IT services, engineers, actors… In fact, nearly every career you can think of involves helping others in some way.
Hear from Jess…
“I’m 23 now – I’ve grown up caring for my 3 younger siblings who all have learning difficulties. Two of them, and my mother, have physical disabilities as well.
My role in looking after them all had an impact on my aspirations for a while – I considered doing a degree in Special Needs Education & Disability Studies. I know that a great many young carers choose to go into a caring profession. One reason is that we feel like that is all we know how to do.
Another reason is – it’s hard to get a first job, so young carers can naturally focus on the skills they already have – instead of thinking about the skills they’d like to learn. They start that first job thinking, “I’ll do this for a little while” but that ‘little while’ can become a long while…
So, I almost went down the caring profession path, but my key worker at Surrey Young Carers encouraged me to pause for thought: “What did I really want to be doing in 5, in 10 years’ time?”
Something hit home, and I had a complete change of mind. I did a degree in Business Management instead. I now work in the HR department of an international insurance company, which I find very rewarding. What I do at work really matters to the company and the employees.”
Hear from Sarah
Sarah found a way to learn while working with the ambulance service. She loves her job as an Emergency Care Support Worker.
- Courses which include a year in employment will give you an advantage. Alternatively, you should plan experiences related to your career interests during your time at university.
- The university careers service should be your first stop. They have information on graduate career paths at their fingertips. It’s likely that you remain eligible for help from the university careers department for years after graduation – sometimes for life!
The go-to source for graduate job information is Prospects.
Is your caring role preventing you from getting the education or employment you want?
You shouldn’t be doing a caring role that:
- Means you do worse at school, college or university.
- Stops you getting a job or keeping a job.
- Stops you wanting to achieve your goals for the future.
- Makes your health worse.
The Care Act of 2014 sets out the responsibilities that local authorities, such as Surrey County Council (SCC) have to you as an adult carer.
If you look after someone you have the right to ask for a carer’s assessment. This looks at the impact your caring responsibilities have on your life and if you might be eligible for support to improve your life.
This is important to think about if you plan to leave home or be at home a lot less. If your absence will cause a gap in the care for your loved one, or you are worried about siblings who will be left at home, talk with the 18-24 team as early as possible.
If your loved one has a social care plan, this could be the time to request a review.
You can ask for a discussion with social care without your loved one if you wish, although ideally, it’s better if the whole family is involved.