CARE 2 WORK
Start date: May 1, 2015,
End date: Apr 30, 2017
Images of the young carer can be traced as back as the 11th century. Whilst novels, and media images, tell us something about the changing nature and experience of young carers in Europe, surprisingly little knowledge has been gained from research or official statistics. So, whilst there is considerable literature which focuses on the lives and needs of informal carers in the community, most of this fails to examine in any depth the particular experiences and needs of young people who care (Fallon, 1990). This also means that the barriers and enablers for their educational, training and employment avenues remain largely unexplored. Due to this knowledge gap the extant curricula, methodologies, material, opportunities and courses are not always fit for purpose.
Despite of being under the radar of educational and social justice policy, the number of young carers is not to be underestimated. Just in the UK it is estimated that there over 1.5 million carers below the age of 35. A quarter of them have being carers before the age of 16 (Parker, 1994). In Italy, there are 170,000 young carers and 25,000 (under 17) in Sweden. There are no national statistics on the young carers in Greece.
We also know from evidence that young carers face additional barriers to education, training and employment. For example, according to a research by Carers Trust, young carers aged between 16 and 18 years are twice as likely to be not in education, employment, or training (NEET) than their peers. According to Eurofund, young people with an immigration background are 70% more likely to become NEET compared to nationals.
Research has also showed that the majority of young carers tend to come from Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups (BAME). For instance, in the UK young carers are 1.5 times more likely than their peers to be from BAME communities, and are twice as likely to not speak English as their first language. We now have enough evidence to know that BAME groups continue to be disadvantaged in our modern society due to discrimination.
On the other hand, providing care can also enable a young person to develop personally and to gain life skills that can also facilitate the transition to adulthood and lead to very positive outcomes for young carers. It is also estimated that billions of Euros are saved by European public services due to young carers.
Young carers need to be given the recognition, opportunity and support to flower as individuals and as carers. Guidelines for action need to be based upon up to date evidence that involves them.
The Care 2 Work project aims to respond to this knowledge gap through a youth-led methodology. Inspired and motivated by the priorities of the EU Youth Strategy, the C2W project will bring together young people and professionals to establish a cross-sector, transnational Strategic Partnership in order to design and implement innovative practices and come up with a set of accredited, reference documents that will: (a) empower young BAME carers (b) increase the capacity of service providers, notably in the areas of integration, equity and inclusion, and discrimination.
Focusing on the Europe 2020 Strategy, C2W aims to foster integration, social equity and inclusion through a two-tier approach i.e. by empowering and involving directly marginalised youth in its delivery, while at the same time increasing the capacity of organisations servicing them. In line with the provisions of the Lisbon Treaty to "encourage the participation of young people in democratic life in Europe", through non-formal learning activities and the development of an evidence-based training programme, C2W will promote innovation, exchange of experience and know-how between different types of organisations providing services to youth with fewer opportunities.
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