Carers UK has backed government plans to give carers a £500 training grant to help them return to work.
The money, announced in today’s white paper on improving social mobility, will be offered to people who have been carers for at least five years, including parents who have been out of the labour market.
A spokesperson for Carers UK said: “We warmly welcome the announcement because it is so hard for carers to get back into work after a long absence.”
Carers’ pessimism about work prospects
A past survey for the charity found that 82% of carers thought it would be impossible or fairly difficult to return to work.
Carers UK welcomed the fact that the payment will be open to carers of all levels of educational attainment and skill. The spokesperson said carers had concerns about finding a job at all skill levels.
Other proposals in the white paper include extending the family nurse partnership scheme to all vulnerable, young, first-time mothers over the next decade. The scheme, under which mothers receive intensive support from a family nurse from early pregnancy to the child’s second birthday, is currently being piloted in 30 areas.
An evaluation of the scheme published last June showed that mothers taking part in the pilots were adopting a healthier lifestyle, though many participants dropped out because they found it “too demanding”.
Other proposals in the white paper include:-
- Piloting improved employment support for care leavers, run by the National Care Advisory Service. This will be rolled out to nine authorities in 2009-10 and potentially to half of England’s councils in 2010-11.
- Ensuring all suitably qualified care leavers have access to an apprenticeship from September 2009.
- Spending £57m on extending free 10-hour-a-week childcare places to 15% of disadvantaged two-year-olds in every area.
The Institute for Public Policy Research welcomed the white paper but urged the government to be bolder in promoting social mobility, particularly on boosting childcare and helping people on low wages improve their work prospects.