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Universities to monitor young adult carers under new access agreement guidelines

In December Carers Trust formally launched the Time to be Heard campaign at the Houses of Parliament. Young adult carers came along to talk with MPs, Peers and other decision makers who can influence the lives of young adult carers.

One of these decision makers was Les Ebdon, the Director of an organisation called the Office of Fair Access (OFFA).

OFFA’s role is to look at all universities charging over £6000 per year tuition fees to make sure no student is put off going to university or unable to do as well as they can whilw they are studying. Universities show what they are doing by filling in something called an access agreement. If OFFA believes they could be doing more they can fine universities and tell them what they have to do to improve before they are allowed to charge over £6000 per year.

Access agreements are a great way to get universities thinking about what they can do to support young adult carers throughout their time at university. The agreements make sure that everyone from lecturers to support staff and the Vice Chancellor are thinking about what they should be doing for young adult carers.

Carers have never been part of the core groups that access agreements recommend universities monitor so we have been trying to get them included. That is why we invited Les to the event.

So we were delighted to see that young carers have been included in the guidance for completing university Access Agreements 2016-17.

You can read it here: http://www.offa.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/How-to-produce-an-access-agreement-for-2016-17-PDF.pdf.

This includes:

Young carers
44. Research by Carers Trust and the University of Nottingham shows that young adult carers often struggle in higher education because of their caring responsibilities. The issues facing young carers include a lack of recognition of their support needs and problems accessing essential services.
45. We encourage you to consider the services you provide to support young carers and how these might align with or be strengthened through access agreements.

Carers Trust met with Les earlier this week and he was very clear that he was influenced by the conversations he had with all the young adult carers at the Parliamentary event. He told us that he was very impressed with the way everyone conducted themselves and the confident, engaging way they spoke. It was this that made him decide young carers should be included in access agreements.

This is just one example of the way that speaking directly to decision makers can change things quickly and for the better. A general election is coming up in 75 days so have a think about how you can get the candidates in your area listening to what you have to say. You never know the impact it could have in the future.


Sophie is Policy and Campaigns Officer (Young Carers and Young Adult Carers) at Carers Trust


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February 20, 2015 - Posted by | Education | , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Please read my blog on Young Adult Carers:) https://inthemindofcaitlin.wordpress.com/2015/05/14/young-adult-carers-2/

    Comment by caitlinnjayy | June 3, 2015 | Reply


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