A leading careers advice programme has expanded its remit to offer more support to help young carers across Lancaster and Morecambe to study at college or university.
Future U, which works with schools and colleges across Lancashire to encourage more young people to consider higher education, is running a series of mentoring sessions with young carers to ensure they don’t fall through the net when it comes to applying for higher and further education.
Future U’s sessions, delivered in partnership with Barnardo’s, help young carers to explore ways to overcome their barriers to education, as well as information on the support available to them in applying for university. The sessions allow the young carers to get equal access to the training and development that will guide them in their employment, education and personal lives.
Research shows that young carers are twice as likely to end up out of education, employment or training when they leave school, while one in four young carers say that their caring responsibilities have prevented them from going to university.
Rachel Ibram, from the Lancashire Young Carers Service at Barnardo’s, added: “Many of the young carers we support juggle their caring role alongside their education, amongst many other responsibilities, and feel that there is a lot to consider when deciding on their future.
“This mentoring programme has allowed them to explore their options and develop new skills in a safe space. The programme has provided our young carers with the opportunity to ask questions of people who have the right information to support them, meet other young carers facing similar challenges and to make the first step in considering their future in further education.”
Oliver Norris, Outreach Officer at Future U, said: “Despite the responsibilities and pressure of being a young carer, they have shown great commitment to the sessions, learning about concepts such as the Belief Cycle and the Healthy Mind Platter.
“It’s been inspiring to hear how they have been using these ideas to make positive changes in their own lives and I’m excited to continue supporting the learners to make some big decisions about their future pathway in the final sessions.”
It is estimated that there are around 800,000 young carers in England, equivalent to six young carers in every secondary school in the country.
Future U works across Lancashire to increase the career and higher education knowledge of young people and encourage teenagers to think about studying at university and their career aspirations.
The project also supports families and young people from areas which are currently underrepresented in higher education, including Lancaster and Morecambe, and works with adult learners, children in care, young carers and students from military families.
Since the start of the project in 2017, Future U has delivered over 1,100 careers activities across 70 schools and colleges in the area, in addition to creating a range of educational and careers resources available to download from its website, www.lancashirefutureu.org.uk.
Future U is part of the national Uni Connect Programme, funded by the Office for Students, and involves institutions and organisations across the county including University of Central Lancashire, Lancaster University, Edge Hill University and the University of Cumbria. Its list of partners also include Blackburn College, The Blackpool Sixth Form College, Blackpool and the Fylde College, Burnley College, Kendal College, Lancashire County Council, Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, Myerscough College, Nelson and Colne College Group, Preston College, STEMFirst, Runshaw College, The Lancashire Colleges, West Lancashire College.
For more details, visit www.lancashirefutureu.org.uk