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.

Get involved in our new Driving Change in Further Education project.

We are offering free one-to-one advice and tailored support for FE colleges across England, to help the improve their support for young adult carers.

Find out how you could get involved.

What are we doing to improve young adult carers’ lives?

We’re campaigning for these three policy changes:

  • We want young adult carers to 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 Education and attended by policy makers from across government, along with young adult carers, carers services and learning provider representatives.

We raise awareness of young adult carers, test out new approaches and support the implementation of good practice.

Why are young adult carers important to us?

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.