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Returning to work - lone parent

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If you’re a lone parent considering returning to work then you may have concerns about returning to the workplace. You may have to think about issues such as childcare, flexible working and benefit entitlement. If you’ve been out of work for a long time you may be thinking about updating your CV or refreshing your skills.

Whatever age your child is, returning to work is a big decision and it is important to find the right balance for you between bringing up your children, financial needs and being fulfilled with what you are doing.

From November 2008, a parent with a child of 12 or over (rather than the current age of 16) will have to move from Income Support to Job seeker’s Allowance. From October 2009 this will be for a child of 10 or over and from October 2010 for a child of 7 or over. There are however a range of pre-employment and in-work support programmes to help parents make the transition from being full-time parents to moving back into employment.

For further information about the benefits and support programmes for returning to work as a lone parent, go to the Department for Work and Pensions website. You can also contact your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau for advice about benefit entitlement when returning to work.

Here are some Top Tips for lone parents returning to work:

  • Contact your local ‘Jobcentre Plus’ for a skills check in advance of your Income Support ending. This will let you know what skills employers are currently looking for.
  • If you think you may need to update your skills to help you get a new job, contact your local college for details of courses that may be suitable for you.
  • Update your CV with all the transferable skills you’ve been using while looking after your child such as planning, organising, communication skills, money management, counselling etc.
  • Consider looking for part-time or voluntary work to ease you back into a working environment.
  • Look at the sector1.net Returning to Work link for your local area to see suitable back to work schemes near you.

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