Funding scheme launched to help carers return to work

Minister for Women and Equalities, Amber Rudd, has today announced plans to invest £1.5m into schemes to support carers returning to work.

The scheme is offering small businesses the chance to bid for a share in the funding to hire people with professional experience who want to return to the workforce after taking time out to care for family members or children.

Pauline Kimantas, CEO of Sheffield Carers Centre, said: “Long periods of unemployment can leave carers lacking confidence to find jobs they are qualified for.

“It is good to see that the government has recognised the difficulties that carers face with continuing, or returning to, paid employment.”

The funding is likely to be especially helpful to women, as 89% percent of carers taking time off work are female.

Amber Rudd said: “Too often people struggle to get back into paid work after taking time out to care for others. That is a huge loss not only to those individuals, but to our economy and to businesses all over the country.

“That’s why I’m delighted to announce this government will be launching a £1.5m fund to support people, particularly women, back into work after time out looking after children and other relatives.”

The scheme has been launched to help tackle the gender pay gap by helping women back into work and hopes to reward businesses creating new job opportunities within the private sector, including law, science, technology and creative industries.

Hiring may be done through ‘returnships’, which are fixed term contract for experienced hires, with a strong likelihood of an ongoing role at the end of the programme if the placement period is successful.

Although this funding is expected to go some way in getting carers back to work, Ms Kimantas said: “There is much more work that needs to be done to make that a reality for every carer who wishes to return. Most of the problems they have identified are to do with the culture of workplaces, the pressures or caring and the rights of carers in work.”

Expressions of interest for the first round of bidding must be submitted by 30 March and 16 August for the second round.