A £350,000 fund has been set aside to support young adult carers in further education.
There are around 300,000 young carers in England, and they face significant disadvantage in learning and work. Evidence suggests that they achieve lower grades at GCSE, are three times more likely to be not in employment, education or training (NEET) compared with their peers, and are four times more likely to drop out of college and university.
The money to support them, announced today, has been awarded to the Learning and Work Institute by the National Lottery Community Fund and will provide high-quality support to young careers in more than 60 colleges in the UK. The institute will work alongside the Carers Federation to deliver the project.
Supporting carers in colleges
The grants follows a pilot programme managed by the Learning and Work Institute, in which young carers at six colleges were given tailored, one-to-one support.
The pilots reported positive outcomes, including increased retention and attainment of students with caring responsibilities, increased staff confidence in identifying and supporting young adult carers, improved data collection and monitoring of young adult carers at their college and improved job satisfaction for college staff.
Many colleges said they were able to build useful relationships and networks with local carers' services, councils and other colleges taking part in the project.
The support will be based on a new Quality Standard in Carers Support framework, developed by the Learning and Work Institute and the Carers Federation to help colleges review, improve and evaluate their provision for their students with caring responsibilities.
Nicola Aylward, head of learning for young people at the Learning and Work Institute, said providing colleges with the awareness and tools to support young adult carers studying with them was key to improving the experiences and life chances for those young people.
“We’re so pleased to receive this grant from the National Lottery Community Fund – it will help us make a difference to the lives of young adult carers in further education right across the UK,” she said.
Joe Ferns, UK director at the National Lottery Community Fund, said: “The Learning and Work Institute plays a vital role in helping young carers both manage their caring responsibilities and realise their educational ambitions, and this, in turn, will help them to thrive. That’s why we are delighted National Lottery funding is supporting the Driving Change project to expand across the UK following their successful trial.”