Employers: How you can support young carers

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Help young carers unleash their potential

At Carers Trust, we recognise that young people with caring responsibilities can bring valuable skills to the workplace. So we decided to interview two young adult carers to find out more about the skills they can bring from their caring role into the workplace.

Who are young carers?

There are over one million young people in the UK coping with the daily pressures of caring for a family member who cannot look after themselves.

They might be making sure a parent with a long-term illness has the right medication and arranging regular hospital visits. Or they could be helping a parent to look after a younger sibling experiencing poor mental health or behavioural problems.

How can young carers contribute in the workplace?

Being a young carer can often help young people to develop invaluable skills that will support them throughout their working life. All too often these are skills that can’t be acquired simply by going to school or training college.

Adult responsibilities falling on young shoulders

Because they are always having to think about the person they care for, many young carers have a strong sense of responsibility. They are also resilient, and have excellent time-management skills and know how to juggle things to get the job done. And because they need to be in tune with the person they care for, they are highly empathetic. These are all highly transferable attributes, widely sought after by employers.

But they are not always skills that are recognised as much as they should be. That’s because they are not acquired through education or work experience.  

How employers can help protect young carers’ futures

Carers Trust wants to collaborate with employers to create brighter futures for young carers. This collaboration isn’t just for a day. We want to look at how, together, we can remove barriers that are blocking the path of young carers into work. And we want to think about how we can take advantage of growing flexibility in the workplace that will help young carers fit work around their caring responsibilities.

We have developed three key steps employers can take to make their workplaces suitable for young carers as they move into the working world.

Taking these steps not only helps us create brighter futures for young people with caring responsibilities. It will also widen your talent pool, giving you greater access to young people willing to develop the skills they have already learned as young carers and put them to practice in your business or organisation.

  1. Visibility: We call on employers to normalise conversations around caring, and for employees to share their own caring journey. Industry role models can inspire young carers and showcase different pathways that led them to their career.
  2. Recognition: We call on employers to acknowledge and recognise the skills that young and young adult carers can bring to the workplace.
  3. Opportunities: We call on employers to offer opportunities to help young carers to start their career journey, building aspirations and skills and improving pathways to employment. This could be through updating existing programmes to become more inclusive for carers, or through tailored activities and programmes for young carers (e.g., career insights days, skills workshops).

We want to hear from employers who are ready to take significant action to support young carers across the UK.

Hear from leading employers already backing our campaign

Quilter: Supporting young carers to achieve their aspirations

Bloom & Wild

Young people have the energy, skills and experience to be the leaders of tomorrow.

Sign up to the YCAD employer pledge

Contact corporate@carers.org to talk through options and get you signed up. Where possible, we might be able to support you with your actions. If you are an employer who wants to sign up to the pledge but cannot do so on March 16th, we want to hear from you.