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Care homes need to be more flexible with working time, says jobless mother

September 27, 2018

An Oxfordshire woman has contacted Caring Times and told of her difficulty in finding employment as a care worker. The 45-year-old woman has children at primary school (with an older one at university) and her husband works remotely and is only at home on weekends.

“I have been thinking about working in a care home as a new career and I wanted to go in at the lower level as a care assistant,” the woman told Caring Times.

“I thought it would be reasonably ­easy as I understand that the care sector is crying out for staff. I applied to several care homes because I wanted to be part of a team – working alone and driving around to provide homecare doesn’t appeal to me.

“I have had a number of one-to-one interviews and have gone back to several places for second-line discussions on flexibility and what I could do and how much I can offer, but I don’t seem to be getting anywhere.”

The woman explained that her working hours were restricted to schooltime but the school was arranging ‘wrap around care’ after Christmas which would extend the hours she could work.

“But I am being offered 12-hour shifts,” she said. “I offered to do a 12-hour night shift but a 12-shift during the day is just not possible; I cannot get the child care.

“I was offered half-days – 8am ’til 2pm or 2pm ’til 8pm – but it had to be a mix of the two; I couldn’t do mornings only, which of course is very difficult for me.”

She had been able to commit to working alternate weekends, which she could do because her husband was at home on weekends, but the requirement to work weekday afternoons could not be surmounted.

“I believe I am a willing, capable, enthusiastic and positive person but I can’t find anyone to employ me for the hours that I am available to work,” she said. “It was the same everywhere I went. I have worked as a massage therapist for 15 years and as a beauty therapist for 10 years. I have run my own business, I have done a lot of voluntary work; in care homes and with meals on wheels, but it seems care work isn’t an option for anyone who has children to look after.

“There are a lot of us; we have a lot to give because of our life experiences and our understanding about caring for other people but the care industry seems to be unable to tap into that. Our productivity once we are working is usually very high; we show up for work, we want to do a good job. We don’t waste time, we have an awful lot to give but the hours are not flexible enough.

“I think there is a little bit of short-sightedness by providers, and a lack of flexibility. Care providers are missing out on a potentially huge resource and of course I’m very disappointed. I could be involved in a sector where I might be able to grow and give more back, but I just can’t get my in the door.”

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