Research shows young adult carers are four times more likely to drop out of further education than other students.

Carers Trust Scotland will launch it’s Time to be Heard for Young Adult Carers in Scotland campaign initiative on the 29 January 2015 at Our Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh. The campaign aims to get young adult carers’ voices heard by the people who can make a real difference to their lives.

Recent research by Carers Trust showed the impact of caring on young adults in their education and employment prospects. This first large-scale survey of carers aged 14-25 revealed that 29% of young adult carers had to drop out of a university of college course due to the pressures of caring.

Other key findings from the research of 295 young adult carers include:

  • 48 school days for young adult carers had been affected because of caring, each year.
  • A quarter of young adult carers in school had experienced bullying because of their caring role.
  • 49% of the young adult carers who had left education were not in education, employment or training.
  • Young adult carers in work missed 17 days per year and had a further 79 days affected because of their caring responsibilities.
  • 5% of young adult carers reported having mental health problems.

Florence Burke, Director of Carers Trust Scotland said:

“This research shows young adult carers are experiencing alarming difficulties in their education and employment prospects, as well as their health and wellbeing. They are not being properly identified and supported, which means they face barriers that have a real and lasting impact on their future.

“However, there is a clear path forward. As part of the Time to be Heard campaign, we have outlined recommendations to the Scottish Government. If applied it would ensure young adult carers are protected from excessive caring responsibilities and can put their energy into education, training and employment.”

Some of the recommendations Carers Trust Scotland is making as part of the Time to be Heard campaign include:

  • Improved identification of and support for young adult carers in further and higher education.
  • Targeted young adult carer anti-bullying and mental health campaigns and projects.
  • Entitlement to Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) for all young adult carers aged 16-19 years old in full-time education who are not receiving other bursary sources or Carer’s Allowance.
  • Free or concessionary public transport at all times for young and young adult carers.
  • Young Carers Authorisation Cards made available by all NHS health boards and backed by promotional campaigns. Scottish Government to extend the age of the Young Carers Authorisation Card to 25 years old.

Tamara, a young adult carer aged 16 from East Renfrewshire, said:

“It is very stressful and it is difficult to balance out my college work and not all lecturers are understanding and it makes me feel vulnerable, stupid and discriminated against. My care role effects my mental health, which then effects my physical health. It is always a knock on effect.”

Eilidh, a young adult carer aged 24 from Ayr, added:

“I hope that the Time to be Heard campaign will change things for young adult carers, so that we can feel part of things and not to be singled out.”

PDF iconBridging the Gap: Young Adult Carers in Scotland