On October 28th 2020 we held our first Young Adult Carer Aspirations Conference. The day was for Young Adult Carers (YAC) aged 14 – 19 and professionals working with YACs across the country.
We know YACs are twice as likely to be Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET) at post-16 than their peers and that they’re underrepresented within the student population in higher education. The conference delivered targeted advice on accessing university as a YAC and on apprenticeships and employment. All workshops were delivered within the context and with the knowledge of the challenges faced by young carers.
Rather than focussing solely on the difficulties young carers face, we used a strengths-based approach when designing the conference, aiming to deliver the message that although caring can be an inhibitor, it can also be an enabler. We referred to the fantastic skills YACs gain through caring (delivering a workshop in this area) and the support that’s out there to help them to reach their potential. We opened and closed the event with motivational and inspirational speeches, most of which was delivered by YCDT Ambassadors, who are young carers who have gone on to achieve incredible things.
Last year’s conference was attended by 40 delegates of whom 25% were professionals working with YACs who went on to embed what they had learned into their practice. Here is some of the data and feedback we received from the post-conference survey:
- 100% of those surveyed were “Happy” to “Very Happy” with the conference
- 92% of YACs left the day with improved confidence that the skills they'd gained through caring could help them in higher education and employment.
- 100% of YACs left the day feeling confident they could have high aspirations and achieve them.
Quotes [when asked, “In your own words, please explain what you will take away from this conference and what your aspirations are for the future”] :
- “I'll believe in myself more and feel unstoppable”
- “Aim high, the route isn't impossible, just along an alternative path. There's more help then you may think”
- “loads of practical info and advice and links, and the inspiration of being able to do anything and to help those i support, inspiring info to share and help others”
Quotes [when asked, “In your own words, please describe the impact the closing speeches had on you”]:
- “Ami was inspirational to any young carers watching, she spoke so clearly about the things we will be facing soon.”
- “Amy's closing speech was really moving and inspiring. It allowed me to think about things that don't really come to the fore such as choice of accommodation to ensure that her disabled parent could visit her at Uni. Also the importance of support services - both internal and external and the long-lasting impact they can have.”
- “It really resonated with me and made you feel less isolated. Also gives a lot of hope for yourself, in seeing where the speakers have come from”
- “I was left in tears... happy ones! It was amazing to see what the ladies had achieved!”
This year we are hoping to hold a hybrid conference where YACs can attend in person or virtually. We’re would like at least 60 YACs to attend in person and a further 40+ to attend online. Your support will help with venue hire, refreshments, YAC transport costs, IT hosting (for virtual participants) and much, much more. By supporting this project, you'll be helping Young Adult Carers to believe in their abilities, raise their aspirations, and reach their potential.