The University of Strathclyde has become the first university in Scotland to be awarded ‘Exemplary’ status for its support of staff who are also carers.
The award is Carers Scotland’s highest level of recognition and builds on the University’s 2018 award of Carer Positive ‘Established’ status”.
The status is a recognition of the support the University provides to staff who are carers, including:
- The development of a Carers Policy
- The creation of a Strathclyde Carers Group
- Availability of staff counselling and employee assistance programme
- Drop-in sessions and online training for line managers of staff who are carers
- Signposting of external support networks that can help employees
Chief People Officer Sandra Heidinger said: “Many of us at Strathclyde have caring responsibilities that we have to fit around our work.
“As a socially-progressive employer we recognise and understand this so we work with staff to take caring responsibilities into account to ensure both the needs of the carer and the organisation are met.
“We are delighted to have been recognised by Carers Scotland through this initiative for the support we have put in place for our carer colleagues.”
Sue McLintock, Manager of the Carer Positive Awards, added: “We are delighted to present this award to the University of Strathclyde, which leads the way in becoming the first University to be recognised as a Carer Positive ‘Exemplary’ employer.
“The University has shown real commitment to ensuring that support for carers is embedded within its culture. Promoting the health and wellbeing of employees with caring responsibilities has been developed over a number of years and we are confident that this will go from strength to strength, continuing to provide an environment where carers feel valued and supported.”
Carer Positive is a Scottish Government-funded initiative which has been developed with the support of a strong partnership of private, public and voluntary sector organisations in Scotland.
The development of a ‘caring for carers’ scheme was listed as one of ten manifesto commitments for carers in 2011 to ‘recognise those employers who offer the best support to carers, allowing them the flexibility they often need to deliver care at home’.
Further information for Carers at Strathclyde.
Inge Fik, Administrative Assistant, School of Education:
“I sometimes have to take time out to support my son who has a neurological condition which causes severe migraines and insomnia. Having my caring responsibilities recognised by the University is hugely important for me.
“For some people it is still difficult for them to speak to their line manager about their caring responsibilities. This can be particularly difficult if the person needs care because of drug or alcohol abuse or even mental health issues. These can seem like taboo subjects.
“It’s good to have awareness and processes in place. It’s important there is understanding from both sides on the impact of caring responsibilities.
“For many carers, work is a place where they can focus on something other than the worries they have at home. Financially, it’s important to work too, as caring can result in increased expenses.
“Conversely, carers need to appreciate the impact the need for flexibility has on the organisation, for example, when they need to take days off.
“Flexibility, communication and planning is important to ensure there are measures and agreements in place to complete work by the required deadlines.
“Similarly, it’s important for colleagues to understand the pressures facing carers.
“Personally, I would encourage anyone who is a carer to speak to their manager or HR and to come along to the Carers Group – it’s been really useful to me and since its launch more and more people are coming. You can see the relief on people’s faces when they see there are others in the same boat as them.
“As a carer you must not forget about your own needs – you can’t care for someone if you’re not looking after yourself too.”