Improving access to learning and work for young adult carers

15 October 2014

The progress of key initiatives, like the National Policy Forum for Young Adult Carers, and their impact on young adult carers’ engagement in learning and work, was the focus of an event in the presence of NIACE’s Patron, HRH The Princess Royal.

Young Adult Carers – Improving Access to Learning and Work examined the effects national policy developments are having, demonstrated the effectiveness of a range of practice and highlighted the positive impact of access to high quality learning and support on the lives of young adult carers.

Attendees heard from a number of young adult carers, whose voices and experiences are central in driving the agenda forward. Some of those who shared their powerful stories with NIACE in Voices of Young Adult Carers, have said:

“Being a carer is a challenge, but you can’t lie down and let it walk all over you. There needs to be more awareness and support for young adult carers – teachers and other staff need to know about caring and how it affects us” – Louise.

“Education providers need to realise how many carers there are out there and that every single one of them will need help and support in some way, shape or form” – Jon.

“This work is really important in raising awareness and ensuring that education providers and support agencies give young adult carers the help they need and are entitled to” – Michelle.

The event also built on the energy and active partnerships which have developed during the last two years, to secure changes in policy and practice that will lead to more integrated and joined up support for young adult carers.

Stephen Evans, NIACE Deputy Chief Executive, said:

“Research shows that young adult carers experience high levels of disadvantage and often find it difficult to engage in learning and work as a result of their caring responsibilities. During the last five years NIACE has undertaken a range of work to raise awareness of young adult carers’ needs, improve the support available to them and influence policy. In particular, The National Policy Forum for Young Adult Carers – convened by NIACE and supported by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills – is starting to make a real difference in influencing national policy.

“The Forum was established as an outcome of our policy seminar with the Carers Trust in 2013, and its members – including young adult carers – have been active in influencing national developments and ensuring that young adult carers are high on the national policy agenda. Alongside the Forum, NIACE is working with a range of partners to pilot innovative and targeted approaches to holistic career reviews for young adult carers, building on our ground-breaking Mid-Life Career Review work.”