Getting ready for work this morning I was watching BBC Breakfast; mainly to see what weather Carol had in store for us here at Canada Water, and my interest was peaked by an article about the high suicide rates within care professionals. The pressures and expectations that go along with this line of work are pushing people, who start with the best of motives, to the brink of despair.
Yet against the background of this story, our society increasingly expects children and young people, who are by reasons of chance, living with a dependent relative to provide that long-term care for their dependent parent. As a parent it never occurred to me that one of my children would be my care giver, at least not whilst they are young, it seems somehow the wrong way around - but we are lucky and eternally grateful for that luck.
To complicate the lives of young carers further, their time is spent with their families whilst other young people spend time building their interests and loading their CVs. Often young carers skills are not explained to potential employers and not referenced on the carers' CVs. Perhaps it's "just what we do" or perhaps they are unseen skills, either way these life experiences, often more adult in their nature than their peers experience, are not used to fulfill the potential of these young peoples lives.
IARS has been working with partners across Europe to find ways to support young carers and the professionals who work with them to make the most of their skills and experiences and use their unique skill sets to gain employment. Our Care 2 Work programme, supported by Erasmus+ comes to a climax later this month with an international conference where respected speakers and experts in the field come together with professionals and young carers to discuss the support available and identify ways for young carers and employers to better understand one another. There are a few spaces left as I type so if you are interested in coming along do get in touch through the website at the bottom of the page and contribute your thoughts to this important discussion.
As this project concludes, another project - supported by the DCLG - is starting, this time building a network of young BAME carers in the London Borough of Southwark and supporting them to fulfill their potential and live the best lives that they can live. As part of this work we are actively building networks at present and for those individuals or organisations who want to be part of this exciting new project and who can't get along to the conference there is still the opportunity to be part of the network by contacting us directly.
Perhaps by building the support for carers in at an early age, we can help reduce the pressure on them and maybe some of that learning will be of help to the people today looking at the impact on the whole profession.
To join us at the Care2Work conference follow this link: http://iars.org.uk/content/5thconference_youngcarers
For information about our Care2Work project take a look at: http://www.care2work.org/
To join the network as part of the new DCLG "We Care" project e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org