Driving Change – supporting young adult carers in further education


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.

Free and tailored support

Approximately 20 colleges across England and Wales benefited from this tailored support in the first year of the project.

The project builds on the 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.

What does it involve?

The free consultancy offer 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 also included:

  • 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.

Explore the findings of the first two years, and pilot, of this project below.

Year two - case studies and reports

Year one - case studies and reports

Pilot project - case studies and reports

Quality Standard in Carer Support accredited colleges

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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

Get in touch

If you would like any further information about the project, get in touch with project manager, Jackie Woodhouse.