HRH The Princess Royal helps to highlight the inequalities young adult carers face in education and employment

8 March 2018

HRH The Princess Royal, Learning and Work Institute’s patron, attended last week’s Positive Transitions – Supporting Young Adult Carers in Learning and Work conference to help raise awareness of young adult carers’ needs and experiences.

The special event brought together young adult carers, policy makers, researchers, managers and staff working to support young adult carers, from across the UK.

HRH The Princess Royal spoke about young adult carers’ determination to persist with their caring roles despite the other pressures they faced, saying:

“We can help young carers finish education, college and enter the workplace and give them confidence in that.”

She was joined by a number of young adult carers, as well as prominent researcher Professor Saul Becker, in challenging the disadvantage and inequality that these young people typically face.

Learning and Work Institute argues that young adult carers have the right to participate in learning; and that learning providers and policy makers have a duty to support them. Yet we know that in reality, as a result of their caring responsibilities, many young adult carers do not make linear transitions, are not afforded the opportunities taken for granted by their peers and often become isolated and disengaged.

Young adult carers who are in education and training, often do not receive the support and understanding they need to succeed and achieve their potential.

Head of Learning for Young People, Nicola Aylward said:

“During the last five years awareness of young adult carers’ needs has improved. In many parts of the country targeted services for young adult carers now exist, and such services are increasingly working more closely with education providers, such as colleges, to enable young adult carers to make supported and sustained transitions into further education.

However, this isn’t happening everywhere and more needs to be done to make this the norm, rather than the exception. Specific changes to national policy, such as the removal of the 21-hour rule in the benefits system, the extension of the 16-19 Bursary to young adult carers and access to flexible apprenticeships would give young adult carers more equitable access to opportunities that they have missed out on, through no fault of their own.”

Learning and Work Institute has produced a range of resources, materials and policy briefings and continues to undertake extensive work to support young adult carers’ access to learning and employment:

Positive Career Choices ‘Learning, Work and Wellbeing Toolkit’. Funded by Department for Health, this toolkit is designed to enable young adult carers to understand their options in learning and work and to make informed decisions about the career pathways they take.

A free webinar on 22 March to introduce our Learning, Work and Wellbeing Toolkit, will provide an opportunity for delegates to speak to one of the carers services involved in developing the pack, and suggest ways of using the resources within it.

Our young adult carers employment survey hopes to gather evidence of the barriers this group face in relation to employment and careers. The evidence gained will help us campaign for better support and wider opportunities for young adult carers to realise their potential and achieve career ambitions. The survey is open until Monday 19 March.