Study Higher have been working in partnership with Swindon Carers Centre for the past two years and have successfully run two residential events together for young carers. These events incorporate information about higher education as well as activities at PGL Liddington, to help offer some respite to the young people from their caring roles.
This year 10 young carers aged 15 -17, from a variety of schools across Swindon and Wiltshire, took part in our summer residential. The group started the weekend with a visit to Oxford Brookes University where they learnt about university life with a campus tour, had the opportunity to talk to a student ambassador and took on the challenge of designing a new society.
We then headed to PGL Liddington where over the next two days, the group took on different activities like the Giant Swing (which I can confirm is as terrifying as it sounds!), zoomed down zip wires and roasted marshmallows around the campfire.
As well as these activities, the group took part in a great Apprenticeships workshop which was delivered by Rachael Wells who is also part of the Study Higher Swindon team. During this the group learnt about the different levels and types of apprenticeships, where and how to apply and what may happen at an assessment centre.
We were also joined by Mark from The Future Toolbox who delivered a brilliant session about different pathways and how developing a growth mindset can help you achieve your goals.
All of the young people reported that they would recommend this weekend to other young carers saying that “it was helpful and useful and fun!” and that it “helps people with anxiety and to get people to be more confident”.
At the beginning of the residential, in response to the question “how likely is it that you will apply to do a degree or similar qualification in the future?”, 40% said very likely. At the end of the weekend, in response to the same question, 60% said very likely. Initially, 10% of students had responded to say that Higher Education was not at all likely to be an aspiration for them but by the end of the residential all the students responded that higher education was something they were very or fairly likely to do. This highlights the crucially positive impact of the residential in relation to career and higher education aspiration.
The next Young Carers Awareness Day is taking place on the 30th January 2020. Click here to access free resources and find out how you can help raise awareness of and support young carers in your schools and communities.
N.B. A young carer is a young person who helps look after someone in their family, or a friend, who is ill, disabled or misuses drugs or alcohol. Being a young carer can have a big impact on a young person’s life, including their education. Young carers are four times more likely than other students to drop out of higher education and they are among the most under- represented and disadvantaged groups in higher education in the UK.