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Each year, Carers Scotland and Carers UK hold Carers Rights Day (Friday, 30 November) to bring organisations across the UK together to help carers in their local community know their rights and find out how to get the help and support they are entitled to.  

Skills Development Scotland has received the ‘Carer Positive’ employer benchmark, recognising the policies and procedures that it has in place to support any colleagues who have caring responsibilities. 

Bringing positive attributes into business

Recent research undertaken by SDS examined the challenges young carers face when trying to access apprenticeship opportunities. This can include the unpredictability of their caring responsibilities and the impact on their workplace concentration and mental well-being.

However, the research highlighted the positive attributes that young carers can bring to the workplace, such as enhanced maturity, resilience, planning and organisational skills.

Scottish Water

Apprentice employer and member of the Scottish Apprenticeship Advisory Board, Scottish Water is also a Carer Positive employer.

First recognised as a Carer Positive employer in early 2015, Scottish Water has been continuing to embed a strong culture of support for carers within the organisation since that time. 

Key to this has been involving carers in the review and development of new support, primarily through the Scottish Water Carers Network.

The group was established to support carers, give them knowledge, and give them a voice in influencing organisational development.

The value placed on carers within Scottish Water is evident through a range of awareness raising activities, practical supports, and is underpinned in their Family, Carer and Special Leave policy. This recognises that each individual has different needs and that a flexible approach is key, with an approach to Agile Working which "empowers our people to work where, how and when they choose; to maximise their productivity and deliver the greatest value to Scottish Water's customers.".

Carers are encouraged to make contact and access relevant support options, all well communicated through an internal press launch, regular emails, and via the dedicated page for Carers on the Scottish Water intranet. 

Some of the more practical forms of support have included counselling services with support workers from VOCAL and Fife Carers on site, so employees don't feel they have to take time off to attend an appointment.

Scottish Water will also offer paid time off to attend external training courses during the day to help support staff in their caring responsibilities.

A Scottish Water employee said: “I am an unofficial carer for my mum and dad who are, 84 and 83 respectively. As an only child with no extended family living in the area, full responsibility falls on my shoulders.

“Scottish Water have been massively supportive of my caring role and allowed me to be the daughter I want to be.

“I am very aware of how lucky I am to have such caring managers and employer, and have absolutely no doubt that without the support I have had I would have personally experienced some level of health problems, either mental or physical with the stress this responsibility can bring.”

More information

Visit the Carers Scotland website for more information on becoming a Carer Positive employer in Scotland.

Visit apprenticeships.scot to find out more about Scottish Apprenticeships and taking on an apprentice.

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