Young adult carers need access to learning and employment.

22nd July 2016

Learning and Work Institute is calling for better access to learning and employment for young adult carers, responding to the Department of Health’s consultation on a new Carers Strategy.


Over the last eight years the Learning and Work Institute has developed an extensive programme to support young adult carers (aged 16-24) in learning and work.


The UK Government’s new strategy provides a critical opportunity to deliver changes that are needed to give young adult carers fair and good access to learning and employment.


Nirav Bhundia, a young adult carer from Leicester, who has been caring for his mum since the age of five, said:


“I’ve been caring for my mum since I was five years old. I missed a lot of school when I was growing up and didn’t get good GCSE grades because I was so busy. I’d like colleges to give people the option to say they’re a young adult carer when they apply so they can get more help.


“Young adult carers should also be given more money when they’re in education; I get the bursary at college but it’s not enough and it’s only paid termly. Employers need to be more aware and understanding of carers and their needs.


“A lot of employers want people to be really flexible so if you tell them you’re a carer there’s a chance you’ll lose your job. Young adult carers need better support to help us stay in learning and work and keep caring for our family members.”


David Hughes, Chief Executive of the Learning and Work Institute added:


“Working with young adult carers across the country, we know that they are often unsupported in learning and lack support to find work. Put simply, their needs are not understood and catered for all too often.


“We therefore welcome the UK government’s consultation on a new Carers Strategy. Our response highlighted a number of simple steps which can be taken to better support young carers in learning and into work. It doesn’t take much to help improve young carers life chances.”


The consultation on a new Carers Strategy is open until 31st July.


ENDS


For further information, contact:


Jamie Matthews, Head of Communications on 07919 325839 or [email protected]k


Notes to editors:


The Learning and Work Institute surveyed young adult carers across England to respond to the Department of Health’s consultation. The response calls on government departments to:


  • Identify young adult carers (aged 16-24) as a distinct group in the new Carers Strategy;
  • Formally identify young adult carers as a ‘vulnerable group’, giving them full entitlement to the 16-19 Bursary;
  • Re-examine eligibility rules for Carer’s Allowance and exempt young adult carers, aged 16-21, from the 21-hour rule;
  • Fund flexible traineeships and flexible apprenticeship pilots for young adult carers;
  • Monitor Apprenticeship starts by people from under-represented groups and implement measures to ensure equality of access for such groups, including young adult carers;
  • Ring-fence a small percentage of the funding raised through the proposed Apprenticeship Levy in order to fund a new Apprenticeships Quality and Access Fund;
  • Explore options for combining different forms of discretionary financial support for young adult carers, into a simple, clear and open offer;
  • Ensure that all teaching, tutorial and pastoral staff in further education colleges and independent training providers have good awareness of young adult carers’ needs; and
  • Ensure that all young adult carers get access to a Carer’s Assessment and transition support.

Learning and Work Institute’s full response to the consultation can be found here: http://www.learningandwork.org.uk/sites/niace_en/files/files/Carers%20Strategy%20call%20for%20evidence%20response%20FINAL.pdf


Responses to the Department of Health website can be sent here: https://consultations.dh.gov.uk/carers/how-can-we-improve-support-for-carers


More about Learning and Work Institute’s work on young adult carers here: /our-work/life-and-society/citizens-curriculum/young-adult-carers