By Emily Stubbs of Swindon Carers Centre
Young Adult Carers are aged between 14 and 25 years old and provide regular and ongoing care to a family member or friend.
From 2018, Young Adult Carers will be able to make universities across the UK aware they have a caring role. This will ensure they receive additional information before they begin their studies and allow colleges and universities to commit to supporting them.
This potentially life changing triumph was first dreamed by one young adult carer who started a campaign for a small change to the UCAS form. UCAS is the organisation which process applications for higher education in the UK. Carers Trust backed the campaign and received widespread support, with over 2,500 signatures in six weeks.
Going to university is a big change for any young adult, it often means moving away from home, family and friends and an increased demand of time and energy into studying. Being a young adult carer and a student can be a stressful balancing act and cause huge amounts of pressure with competing caring responsibilities and study.
Research by Carers Trust last year found that half of young adult carers in college or university struggled because of their caring role and were four times more likely to drop out of higher education. Being a carer as a young adult should not hinder education and career aspirations.
From 2018, the UCAS application form will include a simple tick box which will allow young adults to self-identify as a carer for someone with an illness, disability, mental health problem or an addiction. This small alteration could prove to make a huge different for young adult carers who wish to attend university. Universities will understand a young adult carers’ needs and be in a better position to support individuals from the beginning of their university education journey.
UCAS will become more inclusive and better at identifying the diversity of students and their different needs. Research by Carers Trust found 14% of young carers in school said they would not continue education due to their caring role. All young adults should be supported to achieve their aspirations and full potential regardless of their circumstances, including being a young carer.
If you live in Swindon and you are going to university this September, Swindon Carers Centre is happy to provide your university with information and advice to support you and other young carers. Please contact Swindon Carers Centre on 01793 531133 or email@example.com