Carers Trust pilot project to find ways of boosting employment prospects for young carers
On average, young carers achieve one grade lower per GCSE subject than their peers without a caring role.
Young carers are more likely to be NEET (not in education, employment or training) than their peers without a caring role.
Two thirds of young carers are more worried about their futures since Coronavirus.
Young people are anxiously awaiting their GCSE and A Level results this week. The results will go a long way to determining their future lives. For the many young people who have to spend long hours caring at home for a family member, it can be an especially anxious time. Their results often lag behind those of their friends who do not have a caring role. But their caring role can also mean young carers often develop valuable skills at an early age that can easily be transferred into the workplace. An innovative new Carers Trust pilot project is looking to find ways to give young carers that extra bit of support they need to harness and develop these skills so they can compete on an equal footing for training and employment opportunities.
Carers Trust is piloting an internship programme designed to harness and develop the incredible skills young carers develop through their caring role, like resilience, multi-tasking and time-management.
The pilot programme has been made possible thanks to support from players of the People’s Postcode Lottery. It also aims to identify the crucial extra support and training young carers need so they can compete equally with other young people for jobs and training opportunities and realise their future potential.
Because of the time spent on their caring role at home, young carers often find it hard to complete all their schoolwork and attend school. This can impact negatively on their educational attainment and future life chances. As well as achieving lower grades at GCSE, young carers are also less likely than their peers without a caring role to be in full time education, employment and training (NEET) between the ages of 16 and 19.
But young carers are some of the most resilient and determined young people you can meet. Many have to juggle schoolwork with hours spent each day caring for a sibling or parent, helping them dress, cook meals, do the household shop and help administer medication.
Through its work with young carers across the UK, Carers Trust has regularly come across young carers who have had to develop budgeting skills so they can enter household expenditure on spreadsheets. Other young carers have had to learn at an early stage how to communicate clearly and persuasively with professionals about the person they care for. This can include talking to health professionals about a parent’s or sibling’s mental health, and their treatment needs.
These skills, developed at an early age by young carers through their caring role, are highly sought after by employers. With appropriate support, they can be developed and transferred into the workplace.
Four young adult carers will join Carers Trust over the summer and autumn to develop their skills as they move towards employment. Support for younger carers is even more important now, following the difficulties they are facing as a result of the pandemic.
Vicky Morgan, Head of Young Carers at Carers Trust said: “Every day, young carers are learning skills that are valuable to future employers such as time management, creative thinking, and the ability to multi-task. But the barriers they face to participation in education and consequent future employment are still high. That’s why young carers sometimes just need that little bit more support to make employment a reality. So we’re so grateful for the support from the players of the Peoples Postcode Lottery. Their funding is helping us start this internship programme which we hope will become a model for the future.”
As well as funding the young carers’ internship pilot programme, support from players of the People’s Postcode Lottery is also making possible the development of Young Carers Futures. This programme will test interventions being made at critical transition points in the lives of young adult carers, helping them achieve their full potential in education, training and employment as well as improving their life chances.
Through the Young Carers Futures programme, Carers Trust aims to work eventually with employers so they can share skills and experiences with young carers and young adult carers. They will also be able to offer career opportunities by providing young carers with work environment experience and insights.
Welcoming the start of the internship programme, Laura Chow, Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery said: “I’m delighted that support from players is helping Carers Trust develop new opportunities for young people with caring responsibilities. By helping to develop a new internship programme, the charity is investing in the future of young carers and helping them reach their full potential.”