How to ensure IAG for young adult carers is meaningful24 October 2017
I would like to discuss the importance of information, advice and guidance around education and careers for young carers.
Notice I haven’t said “tailored” in the above sentence? With good reason.
It seems to me that there is a long way to go before we can say that tailored advice and guidance is being provided for young carers. In my experience, many young carers have received little or no careers advice at school, and any they did receive tended to focus on sixth form or college routes. They are not made aware of the Raising the Participation Age Regulations (RPA) and just assume that they must stay in education until they are 18. Their parents are even less informed.
For many young carers, school is difficult. The research shows that they are more likely to miss time at school and that they often do not achieve as well as their peers. Naturally then, some must spend the best part of years 10 and 11 worrying that they’ll never do well enough to get into college or sixth form.
Young carers are three times more likely to be NEET than their peers. Does this correlate directly with a lack of basic, tailored careers advice at school? I think it quite possibly does. If careers advice for young carers included informing them that apprenticeships are an option under the RPA or that working/volunteering part-time alongside part-time study is also allowed, then far fewer would be NEET in my opinion.
So, before we even talk to young carers about the rules around Carer’s Allowance or their right to request flexible working, or introduce them to the tools we developed through this project to help them make the right choices for them, it’s vitally important to give them the basics first.
I quite like some of the tools we have collectively produced for this project and will use them, but first I will make sure the young person is fully aware of what it is they can legally do post-16 so that the tools can be used meaningfully and successfully.