Young adult carers

We’re working to ensure young adult carers get the employment and skills support they need by trying to improve policy and practice.

Young adult carers are young people aged 16-24 who provide unpaid care to someone, usually a member of their family, on a regular basis. They may care for a parent, sibling, grandparent or other relative who has a disability, long-term illness, mental health problem or other condition which results in a need for care, support or supervision.

They provide £5.5 billion of unpaid care per year. They are three times as likely to be NEET (not in education, employment or training) as other young people, achieve on average 9 lower GCSE grades and 45% report a mental health problem.

Our policy asks

We believe that young adult carers have the right to participate in learning, have access to good quality services and opportunities to benefit from stable and high-quality employment. We’re campaigning for three policy changes, which will give young adult carers fair access to learning and work:

  • We want young adult carers to be formally identified as a ‘vulnerable group’ giving them full entitlement to the 16-19 Bursary.
  • We want young adult carers to be exempt from the 21-hour rule in the benefit system.
  • We want young adult carers to have access to flexible and part time apprenticeships to boost their skills and careers.

What are the challenges?

There are more than 314,000 young adult carers aged 16-24 in England and Wales. That’s the equivalent of more than 1 in 20 young people.

Over one in ten young adult carers provide 50 or more hours of unpaid care a week.

An infographic showing key facts about young adult carers in learning and work

Driving Change – supporting young adult carers in further education

Find out more about the work we are doing with The Carers Federation, to improve the support that young adult carers receive in further education.

Posters and leaflets developed in partnership with DWP and the National Policy Forum for Young Adult Carers

Visit our ‘Learn, Work, Care’ website

Access a range of information and resources produced by us and our partners
Young adult carers sit in discussion around a large round table

‘You Care, We Care’ - Considering careers in the Civil Service

Offering a flexible working environment and tailored support for young adult carers, the Civil Service wants young people to consider a career with them. If you are working with young adult carers this leaflet gives more information.
Download the leaflet

Latest news and relevant resources

Why are young adult carers important to us?

We believe that young adult carers have the right to participate in learning, have access to the services that they need and to benefit from the opportunities that having a stable and rewarding job brings. Likewise, society, learning providers and policymakers have a duty to support them and ensure that they have fair access to learning and work.

Want to know more?

For further about our social justice and inclusion work contact: Nicola Aylward, Head of Learning for Young People