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Welsh Government

Options for returners to work

Returning to work after a break can be daunting. Let us help you with the first steps.

There are many reasons people take a break from work, such as:

  • Time off to raise a family
  • To take on caring responsibilities
  • So they can travel or live abroad
  • After a period of ill health

Whatever your reasons, planning on returning to work is an opportunity to review your skills and increase your confidence.

What are my options?

Some of the options available to you can include:

  • Getting a job
  • Retraining
  • Doing an apprenticeship
  • Getting into self-employment

Top tips for getting ready to return to work

Research your career plans

You’ll need to plan ahead to make sure you’re fully prepared to enter the world of work. Even if you know what type of job you want to do, it’s important to research the skills, qualifications, potential earning salary and employers so that you feel confident in making the next step.

  • Use the Career Match Quiz to match your skills and interests with different jobs
  • Search Job Information to see what skills and qualifications are needed for different jobs

Contact Careers Wales to speak to a Careers Adviser about your options and next steps.

Know your skills

Things may have changed in the workplace since you were last working so you’ll need to be aware of the skills you have or may need to get to apply for certain jobs. You should look at different job descriptions and identify what skills are required. Some things to remember about your skills:

  • Life skills you have are work skills too. What you've done during your break from working means that you've probably gained valuable skills and qualities useful to many roles. e.g. planning, financing, communication, caring, taking on responsibility, organising and more - So, think about what you do on a daily basis and the skills you gain
  • You have transferable skills. If you've worked in the past then the skills gained are still invaluable to any job you may apply for now, even if it's in a completely different sector - So, write a list of the skills you gained in past jobs and what you've gained during your break from work, this will help you identify any gaps you may have

Take a look at Future of Work in Wales to find out more about the current and future world of work.

Improve your job opportunities

To find your perfect job or training opportunity you will need to be looking in the right places. There are different ways to find work and training opportunities and making use of many of these will improve your job opportunities:

Be ready to apply

When you find a job or training opportunity you want to apply for you may need to be ready to send your CV, to complete an application form and hopefully attend an interview.

Take a look at Getting a job for information and support with building a CV, writing applications, covering letters and emails and interview techniques.

Be open to retraining

It may mean that for certain job roles you will have to retrain to become qualified. There are many organisations who can offer training opportunities in different job roles.

Take a look at the courses on offer in Wales - Courses in Wales

Be aware of finance

Depending on your personal situation returning to work or training may:

  • Affect any benefits you may be claiming
  • Mean that you are eligible to claim new benefits
  • Be able to get financial support with training

Take a look at the benefits calculator on to find out any potential finance implications.

Contact Jobcentre Plus to discuss your financial situation.

If you are taking a training course then you should speak to the provider about financial support on offer.

Overcoming barriers

Depending on your circumstance you may not feel ready to return back to the workplace immediately or you may feel you have barriers to overcome first. Examples can include:

  • Having a criminal record – there are organisations out there to help you.

    Nacro are a national social justice charity with advice and information about disclosing criminal records to employers, how different sectors handle applications from people with criminal records and much more
  • Caring responsibilities – there is support available to help you work or train whilst still caring for your family. Take a look at some useful websites:

    Carers UK are a national charity for carers and can offer support, advice and guidance to help you
    Gov.UK can give you advice on what financial support you may be eligible for if you have children

Whatever your circumstance Careers Wales can offer you support and guidance to help you take your next steps to finding work and training. Contact us to discuss your options and next steps.

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