Driving Change – supporting young adult carers in further education

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28 04 2020

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Learning and Work Institute is working in partnership with The Carers Federation to improve the support that young adult carers receive in further education.

Starting in late 2019, this three-year project, funded by the National Lottery Community Fund, involves L&W working with 60 further education colleges, across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Colleges will receive tailored one-to-one support to review their provision for young adult carers and implement actions that will enable them to achieve better outcomes.

National data shows that young adult carers are three times more likely to be NEET (not in education, employment or training) as other young people and five times more likely to drop out of college. By understanding young adult carers’ needs and putting effective support in place and developing effective partnership working with local services, this project will give young adult carers good opportunities to benefit from learning and fulfil their potential.

Recruiting for phase 2

We are now recruiting more colleges to the project and are particularly interested in hearing from colleges in Northern Ireland and Scotland. 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.

The project builds on positive outcomes for six colleges involved in a pilot in 2018. Colleges reported a range of benefits of taking part 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.

Application process

When does it start?

We will start working with colleges from October 2020.

What will it involve?

You will need to secure commitment from a member of your senior management team to participate in and fulfil the requirements of the free consultancy offer. This includes:

  • Hosting an initial (virtual) 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 Action Plan within an agreed timeframe (usually 4-6 months from the start of support) and participating in regular catch ups with Carers Federation to review progress.
  • Participating in a final 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
  • Involving young adult carers in developing and reviewing the impact of your Action Plan.

The support will also include:

  • Access to a dedicated project page bringing together information and practical resources from the Driving Change project to help your college provide effective support for young adult carers
  • A series of webinars where participating colleges can find out how what other colleges are doing, share effective practice and resources and discuss solutions to common challenges.

How to apply

Colleges interested in taking up this opportunity should complete an application by Friday 11 September 2020.

Carers services are welcome to share this opportunity with any colleges that could benefit from this tailored support.

For further information about the project please contact research manager, Jackie Woodhouse.

Application form - 2020

Submit before Friday 11 September 2020
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Pilot project case studies

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