Juggling work and children can be hard, but with the right resources, it’s not impossible. There are many resources available to help you manage both your work and family life. This page will discuss some of the best ways to find a new career as a single parent. It will also be exploring what kind of jobs might be suitable for you.
Careers for Single Parents That Offer Flexibility
One of the best ways to balance work and looking after your children is to find a job with lots of flexibility and high earning potential. For example, there are many roles you can do from home or on a freelance basis that can be well paid.
Here are some careers that employers might offer you to work from home:
- Customer service representative
- Graphic designer
- Life coach
- SEO Specialist
- Website developer
If you may need a higher earning potential per hour of work, you may need to consider training. One of the most efficient ways you can do this is by completing online training courses.
These often have a relatively small upfront cost and will provide you with a professional certification. This can be done at home and in between childcare commitments.
Alternatively, one way of training whilst retaining an income is to choose an apprenticeship.
The government has modernised apprenticeships in recent years so you can even get a master’s degree in as little as 18 months. Not only do you not have to pay for the training, but you will also continue to earn as you train.
Furthermore, it is common for employers to accept a request for part-time work in apprenticeships, meaning you can balance time spent with your children.
Retraining or upskilling in whatever capacity feels comfortable to you may open doors in terms of your earning potential.
You are also more likely to thrive doing freelance work (may be preferable due to its flexibility) if you have formal credentials.
Not all jobs for single parents require retraining or the need to develop your skillset further, but this may be an option if you’re currently struggling to find work in your chosen field.
Planning Your Schedule
Deciding what kind of hours to work to best suit your family depends on your individual situation.
If you are working, you will need to ensure you have enough time to care for your children. As previously discussed, this might mean working part-time or flexible hours.
It’s also beneficial if you can find a job that offers childcare assistance. This can help to reduce the cost of childcare.
If your child is at an age where they are in school, working during school hours could be the best way to utilise your time. Therefore, you can earn a living without having to compromise any time spent with your children.
This isn’t always possible, but pursuing a job that closely surrounds school hours will often be the best solution.
Many schools also offer after-school clubs for working parents, ensuring that your child is well cared for if you do need to stay at work for longer.
There are several different types of financial support that a lone parent can access as you are accessing support for the child alongside yourself.
However, the multiple potential sources of support make calculating the exact amount confusing. To find how much you could be eligible to receive, check out the government’s benefits calculator.
Benefits You May Receive
- Universal Credit: If you have recently become a lone parent, the DWP will likely advise you to sign up to Universal Credit, which encompasses most benefits into one payment.
- Income support: This is the old method of accessing benefits and funding. It is there to supplement your income if you are not earning enough to support your family.
- Child benefit and tax credit: If you have a child that is under 16 or is in full-time training and under 20, you will be eligible for child benefits. In turn, if you are eligible for income support you will be eligible for tax credits.
- Council tax subsidy: Talk to your local council to see if you are eligible for a council tax subsidy.
Advice and Guidance
There are numerous local and national organisations built for supporting and advising single parents in the UK. Sometimes having someone clearly explain your options can help make things feel more achievable and less overwhelming. Here are some of the best organisations you can reach out to if you need support or advice:
Provide information to lone parents to help them support their family, as well as providing a channel to parliament for the voices of single parents.
A community forum specifically for dads, including tailored information and guidance.
This charity is based in Scotland and provides information as well as face-to-face family support services.
A diverse organisation looking to create a community of one-parent families to instigate significant social change in the UK.
Advice and support tailored for single dads.
Advice and support tailored for single mums.
A more general family support organisation that will assist you in a range of family-related issues.
How to Change Careers as a Single Parent
When considering any kind of career change, it’s important to make sure the hours available also meet your childcare requirements.
For anyone considering a career change, it’s essential to conduct plenty of research into potential career choices, and where possible, read reviews from current employees in your chosen field about the work-life balance.
This could also help you steer clear of a potentially negative career choice for you and your needs and help you find your best fit.
Networking is another key part of changing careers. This can feel difficult as a single parent, but even just reaching out to someone online about their career can be a vital part of networking.
Engaging with others on sites such as LinkedIn demonstrate your passion for the industry and makes you appear interconnected to future employers.
This may seem overly simple, but even just asking everyone you know if they know someone in your desired field can be a great way to network. You never know who your family or friends might have professionally encountered, and they could point you in the right direction.
Refreshing a Career also has specialist advice on how to retrain which can you take the first step towards finding a new job, and be sure to check out our specialist career change jobs board with jobs for single parents!