Education and Apprenticeships

Young adult carers often report that balancing their caring role and studying can be challenging and they do not feel supported with this. Our support workers are able to guide you and explore your options further.

Staying or leaving?

This is a big question when deciding what you would like to do next, particularly for young adult carers and their families. Both of these options have their pros and cons. A good place to start is to create a ‘plan’, which a support worker can help you do. This plan can include looking at steps you could take before leaving to make things more manageable, how often you would like to visit home and identifying your journey and the cost.

If you are looking to go to university, there is a section specifically for carers on UCAS applications. By completing this, it will allow your university to put you in touch with the right support, quickly.

Financial support whilst studying

Individual universities may have a bursary available to support young adult carers who may incur additional financial costs whilst studying, due to their caring role.

It is worth checking your chosen university’s website to see if this is something that they offer and for information on how to apply. If you are already at university, make contact with the relevant university departments.

Open University
If you are worried about moving away, university fees and/or missing family and friends, the Open University are experts in distance learning and online courses. Their courses provide flexibility, which may suit your caring role. Carers may also be eligible for a Carers Scholarship Fund or a Carers’ Bursary.

Undertaking a degree at college

Some colleges offer university courses. Fees tend to be cheaper and you can study whilst living at home. Additionally, some colleges offer ‘foundation degrees’ which have lower entry requirements and take two years to complete, rather than three. If you then want to top this up to a bachelor’s degree, you do have that option.

Access to Higher Education courses
These are level 3 courses (the same as A-Levels). Please note, fees will apply if you have already achieved a level 3 course.

Check local colleges/universities to see what Access to Higher Education courses they are offering. Most education establishments offer a wide range of subjects, which may interest you. Most courses take approximately a year to complete. Once completed, you can continue to study at degree level and further.

Bucks College Group offer:
• Level 3 Access to Higher Education (Health Professions & Nursing).
• Level 3 Access to Higher Education (Humanities & Social Sciences).
• Level 3 Access to Higher Education (Health Professions & Human Sciences).

To find out more about the courses, including entry requirements, see Bucks College Group.

Apprenticeships and caring

What is an apprenticeship?
With an apprenticeship, you are employed to do a job whilst studying towards a qualification. You are usually expected to go to a college (or equivalent) at least once a week. By the end of the apprenticeship, you should have the skills and knowledge to flourish in your chosen career path or you may wish to advance to the next apprenticeship level in order to increase knowledge, skills and opportunities.

Getting Started
You need minimum level 1 in English and Maths (GCSE grade 3 or D). There is an apprenticeship minimum wage, however some employers pay apprentices more. For further information, see Become an apprentice –

You can set up alerts from the government website for opportunities. For further infomation, see Find and apprenticeship –

Pros of apprenticeships:

  • You are able to earn and learn at the same time, whilst living at home.
  • You can start at any time.
  • Career progression.
  • You can study to degree level whilst working.
  • On completion of the apprenticeship, the company may offer you a permanent job.
  • The learning is free of cost to you.

 Cons of apprenticeships:

  • It is a big commitment as you are juggling work, learning and your caring role.
  • The pay can be lower than the national minimum wage.
  • There is no job guarantee at the end of you apprenticeship.

Returning to education

If you have been out of education for a while, it is never too late to return, even as an adult. There are many options out there, which can be overwhelming. However, we can help you put this into perspective, find an option that suits you and be the stepping-stone that you need. Just because you have caring responsibilities, does not mean you have to miss out.

Free College Courses
If you do not have a level 3 qualification, there are courses available which are free of charge if you are aged between 19-23. Employment prospects can increase with the more qualifications that you have.
If you are interested, it is worth thinking about what subject you would like to study and what your local colleges are offering. There are often options to study from home or part-time, which can help you when balancing your caring responsibilities. If you need further advice, please contact us so we can put you in touch with the right services.

Useful links

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More Useful Information for Young Adult Carers…