“We care – do you?” Young adult carers call for policy changes

23rd March 2016

Despite providing more than £5 billion in unpaid care each year, more than 300,000 16-25 year old young adult carers are twice as likely to be out of education and work than their peers and nearly half experience mental health problems.

Improving the life chances of young adult carers was the subject of a national conference in London yesterday [22 March 2016]. In the presence of Learning and Work Institute patron HRH The Princess Royal, young adult carers proposed policy changes to government officials and health and social care professionals.

Kirsty cares for her eight year old brother who has Neurofibromatosis. Supporting him through overcoming a brain tumour and 14 brain surgeries meant that getting an apprenticeship did not seem an option for her. However, presenting at today’s conference, Kirsty told delegates about how more flexible apprenticeships can help:

“I’ve got a flexible apprenticeship and that’s allowing me to develop my skills for employment. I obviously don’t want to take time off, but it’s great to know there is understanding and I can if I have to.”

The conference was organised by Learning and Work Institute who are supporting young adult carers in advocating for policy changes in education, apprenticeships and social security that remove barriers that prevent young adult carers from succeeding in education and work.

David Hughes, chief executive at Learning and Work Institute said:

“It’s critical that we recognise the contribution that young adult carers make to society. We all benefit from the sacrifices and commitment they make to their loved ones. It is now time for Government to implement some quite simple policy changes which would transform young adult carers’ chances of succeeding in learning and work. I am really proud that we are able to provide young adult carers with this platform to air their views. We will continue to work with young adult carers to make sure that government departments and others make learning and work more accessible”.