Introduction

Why might this course be useful to me?

Welcome to What about me? A personal development course for carers in Wales.

When we look in the mirror we see our reflection. In everyday life we sometimes talk about being in a ‘reflective mood’, and we tend to reflect on things that don’t have an obvious or straightforward answer. We might take time to reflect on something to consider it in more detail, in greater depth and in a new way.

Self-reflection is thinking about yourself to gain greater self-awareness and understanding. Conscious or unconscious it involves our thoughts, ideas, experience and knowledge. The process of reflection might be pleasurable or uncomfortable, or a mixture of both.

Reflection is a way of working on what we know already to create new knowledge and understanding. In this way it can help us recognise and appreciate skills and abilities that we have but often overlook. We can reflect at any time in our lives to help us examine our feelings around a whole range of experiences. It can help us review our decision making and motivations and for that reason it is used in learning and workplaces in relation to personal development and career planning.

While reflection can be uncomfortable it can also be liberating and empowering. Developing a better understanding of ourselves and our situation will enable us to move forward.

The diverse experiences of carers have informed the development of this course. Some are in a position where their caring role is changing. For others their role stays the same, but they are finding new ways to cope.

James, a carer who also works with a local carer service in Wales, sums up the skills and qualities he’s seen in carers:

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Transcript

James
From the point of view of being a carer, reflection…time to reflect actually, is often something that people have little of, and if they’re able to come along to a course such as the one that you’re providing today, it allows them that time to think about, ‘well, yes, my life might be full of domesticity and I might have to do lots of practical jobs every day just in order to make sure that my loved one is warm, fed, clothed, clean, medicated, etc.’ but those are also areas of life which provide you with experiences that translate to skills that you can use in future employment opportunity perhaps. So, for example, organisation, communication… they’re all things that lots of carers do all the time with a diverse range of people, but perhaps wouldn’t think to be putting them down on an application for education or indeed for employment because it’s something they do at home so it’s something they see as just being themselves, a personal attribute as opposed to something with market value, and I think that’s very important for people to be able to broaden their horizons and think in terms of ‘well, I do have value; I have many skills or …strings to my bow, so actually I will be able to go out there and promote myself and believe in myself enough to be able to do well in a more academic or indeed employment capacity.’
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Carers come from all walks of life and some have been caring from a young age while others may become a carer later in life. Many people bring pre-existing skills to caring, but being a carer can develop and highlight skills and attributes that often aren’t recognised. Carers are often extremely organised, reliable and very good at handling pressure. They can quite often identify other people’s emotion, just at a glance.

This course is intended to support carers to reflect on what their skills and strengths are, their goals and how they can achieve them.

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Learning outcomes