Young adult carers regularly experience disrupted or missed days at college because of their caring role and are almost five times more likely to drop out of college than their peers.
Building on the one-to-one support that six colleges received last year, this Driving Change project will expand this support to a further 60 colleges in the UK.
Together with the Carers Federation, we are being supported by The National Lottery Community Fund to offer free and tailored consultancy advice to FE colleges who wish to improve their support for young adult carers.
The three-year project will provide intensive one-to-one support to colleges in the UK to help them to develop and embed an organisational approach to working with young adult carers.
We will be working with up to 12 FE colleges in England and Wales this year, and looking to extend into Scotland and Northern Ireland in years two and three. Our aim is to recruit different types of colleges from a range of geographical locations and at different starting points on their journey to improving provision for young adult carers.
Benefits of taking part
Six colleges which participated in a project to pilot this approach, reported a range of benefits including:
- Increased attendance, retention and progression rates for students with caring responsibilities. For example, one college in South East England showed a 10% increase in both retention and progression rates for students identified as young adult carers.
- Improved data collection and monitoring of young adult carers
- Increased staff confidence in identifying and supporting young adult carers. One college in the West Midlands identified five times as many young adult carers compared to the number known to them at the start of the project.
- External recognition of the support offered to young adult carers at their college, through achievement of the QSCS
- Development of useful relationships and networks with local carers services, councils, and other colleges taking part in the project.
What will it involve?
- Hosting an initial meeting between a Carers Federation contact, a member of your senior management team and the staff member who is or will be the college’s lead for young adult carers
- Completing a checklist which will RAG-rate the college’s current support for young adult carers and identify areas for improvement
- Working with a Carers Federation contact, using the Quality Standard in Carer Support (QSCS) to develop an action plan to address identified areas for improvement
- Implementing the actions in the plan within an agreed timeframe
- Participating in an assessment with a Carers Federation contact to see how the college’s support has developed since the support started
- Participating in a light touch evaluation to explore the difference that our work makes to the support the college offers to young adult carers
- Work to build new relationships or develop existing partnerships with local carers services to ensure a joined-up approach to improving support for young adult carers at your college
Find out more
We are delighted that there has been such a high level of interest in Driving Change from colleges looking to improve their support for young adult carers.
We will be recruiting more colleges to work with later this year. If you are interested in taking up this opportunity and would like updates on on the project, please get in touch.
What did the colleges involved in the pilot project have to say...
“We wanted to get involved in the project to raise staff awareness of the college’s support for young adult carers to ensure consistency in the support that these young people accessed.” - Abingdon and Witney College
“...one of the biggest things they all say is, ‘you’re listening, and you understand, and I don’t need to keep telling my story’.” - Capel Manor College
“…the awareness raising has been the biggest thing... that we do acknowledge as a college, and we have a commitment to the fact, that we understand people do have caring responsibilities and we’re here to support them with that.” - Kirklees College
“The commitment of the pastoral team, from the manager through to the network of champion learning mentors, has meant that changes to improve support for young adult carers have been made with relatively few problems.” - Newcastle College
“Our involvement in the project has helped us set up a group of young adult carers who are interested and involved in improving support at the college and are supportive of each other, as carers.” - Solihull College and University Centre in the West Midlands
“We also wanted to improve how we monitor our identified young adult carers, to inform where additional support may be needed.” - South Gloucestershire and Stroud College
Solihull College worked with Carers Trust Solihull to improve their support for young adult carers in the college. Find out more in these short films...
Driving Change Campaign
We believe that 300,000 young people will be locked out of T Levels. Working with Barnardo’s, our new campaign will further our work on improving education and employment outcomes for young adult carers. Learn more about our three policy asks here or get in touch to join the campaign. Watch this space!