Seeing caring experience as a benefit for the workplace

A new training programme aims to highlight and develop the soft skills carers bring to the workplace.



People with experience of caring responsibilities should be seen as a boon to employers as it gives them extra soft skills, according to a new training programme for employers and employees.

The new digital programme, Lifeed Caregivers, is being run by the National Innovation Centre for Ageing (NICA) and EdTech company Lifeed.

It builds on Lifeed’s exisiting programme for parents with childcare responsibilities.

It is estimated that there are nearly eight million unpaid carers in the UK, with COVID-19 adding an extra 4.5 million people to this figure. Lifeed says caring can help develop soft interpersonal skills that are invaluable in the workplace, including stress management, patience and self-confidence – which are much sought after in the workplace. The focus is on relationships with others, personal development, and self-direction

The Lifeed Caregivers programme is conducted via a web app and includes online training modules, real life missions, webinars and a diary, with 30 minutes per week recommended over three months, with a maximum of 12 months given to complete the programme.

Riccarda Zezza is CEO and Founder of Lifeed and set up the company after experiencing problems on her return to work after maternity leave and feeling that her experience was not valued. She said: “We’re excited to help build a culture of care within British businesses, particularly in light of the current situation which has brought out the caring instincts in all of us. Our life experiences make us who we are, and by embracing them into our working life, we can develop and grow in all aspects of our lives.”

Professor Nicola Palmarini, Director of the UK’s National Innovation Centre for Ageing, added: “This new digital platform will help businesses to harness new skills, gather meaningful insights and create a sense of community in the workplace. It can also help shape policy and provides huge potential for the growth and personal development of employees whatever their stage of life. On top of this, there is an urgent need for innovative solutions to support the endemic lack of carers: in the UK alone there is an expected need for 580,000 additional social care workers by 2035. Together with Lifeed we are bringing a concrete example of how this issue can be addressed using in a novel way digital and data while leveraging a true collaborative interaction between employers and employees to understand the needs and empower each other in a joint play to benefit both the work-life balance of the individuals and the needs of an ageing society.”



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