Young Adult Carers

Who are young adult carers?

Young adult carers are young people aged 16-24 who provide unpaid care to someone, usually a member of their family, on a regular basis. They may care for a parent, sibling, grandparent or other relative who has a disability, long-term illness, mental health problem or other condition which results in a need for care, support or supervision.

Facts and figures

There are more than 314,000 young adult carers aged 16-24 in England and Wales. That’s the equivalent of more than 1 in 20 young people.

In total, these young people provide £5.5bn of unpaid care per year and over one in ten young adult carers provide 50 or more hours of unpaid care a week.

A caring role can have a significant impact on a young person’s experience of learning and work and their overall wellbeing.


Why are young adult carers important to Learning and Work Institute?

We believe that young adult carers have the right to participate in learning, have access to the services that they need and to benefit from the opportunities that having a stable and rewarding job brings. Likewise, society, learning providers and policymakers have a duty to support them and ensure that they have fair access to learning and work.

Watch the short film below to hear Emily Hicks talking about the impact of caring on her life.


What is Learning and Work Institute doing to improve young adult carers’ lives?

We raise awareness of young adult carers

Download our infographics and our free set of posters to raise awareness locally.

Our briefings on young adult carers who are male or from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) background aim to raise awareness about the additional challenges that these groups experience.

We’ve also produced briefings on young adult carers for Health and Wellbeing Boards which you can use to help champion the cause of young adult carers.

Also look out for our free staff training sessions and our annual conference!

Email [email protected] to join our network and receive regular updates about our work.

We analyse policy and campaign for change

Download a copy of our policy discussion paper, or watch this short film to hear a young adult carer explain why we’re campaigning for these three policy changes:

  • We want young adult carers should be formally identified as a ‘vulnerable group’ giving them full entitlement to the 16-19 Bursary.
  • We want young adult carers, aged 16-21, to be exempt from the 21 hour rule in the benefit system.
  • We want young adult carers to have access to flexible hours apprenticeships and traineeships to boost their skills and careers

We also convene the National Policy Forum for Young Adult Carers, which is supported by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and attended by policy makers from across government, along with young adult carers, carers services and learning provider representatives.

We test out new approaches and support the implementation of good practice

To support young adult carers in learning and work, we produced a Guide for colleges and services to help young adult carers succeed in FE and developed a guide for employers to help young adult carers achieve in work.

We’ve also worked to improve careers guidance for young adult carers. This briefing for careers guidance workers explains how practitioners can enable young adult carers to make informed decisions about learning and work. We also developed Value My Skills: Careers guidance tool for young adult carers through a project which piloted careers guidance tools with young adult carers.

Another key challenge that young adult carers and their families typically face is poverty. Budgeting and good personal financial management is an important skill for everybody, but for young adult carers it’s crucial. That’s why we produced Financial Capability Resources to enable staff working with young adult carers to help them improve their financial capability and money management skills.

We listen to young adult carers and ensure that our work secures positive impact for them

We do this in a range of ways. For example, young adult carers in Leicestershire designed our posters; two young adult carers (Emily and Matt) are members of the National Policy Forum that we convene; and young adult carers speak at our conferences, alongside HRH The Princess Royal, and co-deliver our staff training sessions.

We also produce resources for direct use by young adult carers. We’ve just published the third edition of our Really Useful Book of Learning and Earning (RUBLE) for young adult carers! We have a limited number of print copies of the RUBLE to give away. To order a free set for your young adult carers, please email [email protected].

Making the Transition to Adulthood: Framework and Resources for Young Adult Carers

Learning and Work is pleased to announce the launch of a new resource for young adult carers. Making the Transition to Adulthood: Framework and Resources for Young Adult Carers. Funded by the Department for Education, the framework and resources are designed for use by young adult carers aged 16-24 and the services that support them.

Developed in partnership with carers services and young adult carers, the framework provides tailored, practical resources and activities, including ideas and advice on when to use them, that carers’ services can use to help young adult carers think about their needs; understand their options;  make decisions about working, learning and living; develop plans for the future and take steps towards achieving them, as they move into adulthood.

Download the resources here:

Introductory Text

Making the transition to Adulthood

Activity Sheet

Knowing Myself Framework

Knowing Myself Activities

Managing Myself Activities 

Managing Myself Framework

The Future Me Activities

The Future Me Framework

Our Voices of Young Adult Carers publication includes powerful accounts and messages written directly by young adult carers.

Join our network! If you’d like to offer feedback on our resources, know more about L&W’s work with young adult carers, or if you’d like to join our network please e-mail [email protected].