L&W estimate that young adult carers provide over £3.5 billion of unpaid care per year. Despite this, on average they achieve 9 lower GCSE grades than their peers, they are five times more likely to drop out of college, and they are 38% less likely to achieve a degree qualification. However, these outcomes are not inevitable.
Young adult carers deserve to go as far as their talent and hard work will take them, yet our work and wider research shows that they often don’t feel supported to go to university. We want to break down barriers to HE and ensure that young adult carers have the same opportunities to go to university, and achieve their potential, as other young people.
Between 2019 and 2022, our Driving Change in Further Education (FE) project, in partnership with Carers Federation (CF), worked with 39 colleges and college groups to improve and embed their support for young adult carers using the Quality Standard in Carer Support (QSCS) Framework. As a result of the project, participating colleges now have:
In addition, colleges achieving the QSCS Award now have external recognition of their commitment to supporting young adult carers.
Building on the success of Driving Change in FE, and the learning from a successful pilot with three universities, our new project has adapted the Driving Change model for the HE context and aims to:
Starting from March 2024, the three-year project will work with 25 universities across England, to help them to develop and embed an organisational approach to working with young adult carers. This offer will be free of charge.
The project will offer one-to-one support tailored for each university for between 12 -18 months, including:
In addition, the project will offer:
Universities will be required to identify and secure commitment from a member of the senior management team to participate in and fulfil the requirements of the project, including taking part in a light touch evaluation to explore the difference that the project makes for young adult carers and universities.