Engaged Carer Status
FVC attains Engaged Carer status
Forth Valley College has officially been accredited as becoming an Engaged Carer Positive Employer in Scotland.
The college has achieved the first of three levels, from ‘engaged’ to ‘established’ through to ‘exemplary’. This will enable the college to progress from one stage to the next, building from an initial level of commitment to embedding a culture of support for carers within the organisation.
Carer Positive status was awarded after FVC provided evidence that it can meet criteria in five areas. These include, the identification of carers, having carers recognised within its policies and procedures, providing workplace support, raising awareness and training, and through having a system of peer support.
Andrew Lawson, Forth Valley College’s Depute Principal and Chief Operating Officer, is pictured here receiving the official status certificate from Sue McLintock Manager of the Carer Positive Awards, with support from the College's HR staff who were instrumental in driving through the Engaged Carer submission on behalf of FVC.
Andrew, said: “It is great to hear that we have attained Engaged Carer Positive status and just shows how seriously we take our responsibilities to carers in this regard. We were delighted to be one of the first colleges in Scotland to attain this status and are very proud of the commitments we have made in achieving this.”
Sue McLintock, Manager of Carer Positive Awards, said: “We are delighted to recognise Forth Valley College as a Carer Positive employer and applaud the steps they have taken to ensure that the College provides a supportive working environment for staff who are carers. Their recognition is well deserved and we would encourage other colleges to follow their example.”
Carer Case study
The College recognises that every individual will have different circumstances and there are no one size fits all solution. The following case study is an example of how the College has supported a staff member with their caring experience.
“My six year-old daughter is currently undiagnosed with a neuro-muscular weakness, she is a wheelchair user who has low tone and requires regular physio, speech therapy, orthotics and consultant appointments.
“She was six months old before it was confirmed that she had special needs and we had started to get an idea of the support she would need on a daily basis to make her life as normal as possible. By this point, I had returned to work following my maternity leave.
“Forth Valley College were very supportive, allowing me time off to attend a number of appointments, both locally and in Glasgow as investigations started into looking for a name to the condition she had. As time went on and we reached the winter weather, my daughter began to develop a number of chest infections. This required treatment in hospital on a number of occasions, the longest being for nine nights.
“My daughter on the back of this had to use a feeding tube for a period and I had to learn how to use this. This meant that I was unable to leave my daughter with anyone untrained to use this, meaning I was not able to return to work until she was able to feed independently again or before staff in the nursery she attended were trained.
“The college again understood my situation and I was able to take a number of weeks of compassionate leave to make arrangements to support my return to work.
“As time passed and my caring responsibilities grew, I approached my line manager and asked if I would be able to reduce my hours of work, to enable me to care for my daughter and still have some kind of work life balance. My line manager was very approachable and agreed. I reduced my hours to 0.5 FTE for one year, allowing me to give the care required to my daughter. As my daughter grew, her immune system strengthened, she was more able to cope with coughs and colds and I was able to return to work on a 0.8 FTE contract with alternative childcare support in place.
“Four years further on now and I have recently returned from the maternity leave of my second child. Due to my first daughter’s health issues, looking after both girls is a job in itself. I recently approach my line manager to request flexible working in the way of job share. Again, my manager has been supportive and the college are currently seeking a job-share partner for my current post. In the meantime, I am still able to have time from work to attend important appointments.
“Being able to work, for me, is of the upmost importance for my positive mental health, as it allows me to have time away from home and the pressures of the support that comes with being a carer. It allows me to use the skills I have developed through study and gained within the workplace to do the job I am skilled to do. Without the support I have received from Forth Valley College, this would not be possible.”
The FVC HR Team are striving to continue the work already in place to support carers and will keep staff up to date with progress. Please speak to your HR Business Manager if you have any queries on support for carers.