Unlocking the talents of our Young Adult Carers: Fairer Support
- There are more than 310,000 young adult carers in England and Wales, aged 16-25 who care for parents, siblings and other relations. In doing so, they save the taxpayer around £1bn per year.
- These caring responsibilities impact on the wellbeing and life chances of Young Adult Carers. They are twice as likely to be NEET (not in education, employment or training), and often experience a range of difficulties and disadvantage, including poverty, isolation, physical and mental health difficulties which have consequences for them throughout their lives. Young Adult Carers deserve better – we want Government to implement three simple changes in their first 100 Days.
100 Day Actions
- Young Adult Carers should be formally identified as a ‘vulnerable group’ giving them full entitlement to the 16-19 bursary. Currently they miss out on this vital support that could help them with the additional financial costs of learning and as a result many either don’t take up learning or drop out.
- Young Adult Carers should be exempt from the 21 hour rule in the benefit system. Currently, they lose Carer’s Allowance if they participate in learning for longer than this each week. Most Further Education courses require longer participation, leaving Young Adult Carers in a catch-22 position. Given many Young Adult Carers have lost out on several years of education as a result of their caring responsibilities, they deserve greater flexibility to gain the skills they need for successful careers.
- Young Adult Carers should be able to access flexible hours Traineeships and Apprenticeships to boost their skills and careers. Currently Skills Funding Agency guidance states that Apprenticeships should be at least 30 hours work per week, except in exceptional circumstances. Exceptional circumstances are not defined and no data is collected. Traineeships do not have this limited flexibility. As a result, many Young Adult Carers are locked out of these opportunities to improve their skills and progress their careers.
In the next in our series of blogs examining our Ten Policies for Ten People blogs, Nicola Aylward details the actions the next Government must take to help unlock the talents of Young Adult Carers.