Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie has called for better support for carers undertaking training and education.
“It can be really difficult for unpaid carers to take courses, given all their responsibilities and the demands on their time,” said Cathy, who chairs the Scottish Parliament Cross Party Group on Carers.
“It’s very important that carers are able to access courses and develop their skills and employment potential. It is important to carers, their families, and the economy. There are many ways in which education and training opportunities can be made more flexible and friendly, but if this is to happen, then the particular needs of carers must be taken into account in the Skills Strategy.
“Unfortunately, education and lifelong learning for Scotland’s 660,000 unpaid carers are not mentioned in “Skills for Scotland”, so I asked the Minister what agencies such as Skills Development Scotland would do to support learning and training for unpaid carers. The Government need to do more to ensure that the cross-cutting needs of carers are taken into account in the different portfolios across Government.”
The Minister replied that there was a plan to “refresh” the skills strategy which would be an opportunity to reconsider the learning and training needs of unpaid carers and older young carers with partners such as Skills Development Scotland (SDS) and the Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council, and that SDS and Jobcentre Plus were working on giving personalised responses.
Cathy said that she welcomed the fresh look at the Skills Strategy, but that it would be important for MSPs and carers and their organisations to maintain pressure on the Scottish Government to take carers’ needs into account.