University makes commitment to student carers
This week, during National Carers Week, Queen Margaret University (QMU) made a commitment to young carers that will help support them during their studies at university and improve their lives chances.
In Scotland alone, it is estimated that there are at least 759,000 carers aged 16 and over and 29,000 young carers. The value of care provided by carers in Scotland is calculated to be £10,347,400,000 a year.
Irene Hynd, University Secretary at QMU, said: “Three out of five of us will become carers at some stage in our lives and 1 in 10 of us is already fulfilling some sort of caring role. Students with caring responsibilities can experience hurdles and barriers when juggling their caring role with academic work.”
The new policy will help QMU to identify students who have caring responsibilities so they can be properly supported throughout their learner journey. It also clearly outlines the support that the university will make available for student carers and provides procedures and reporting on academic progress and outcomes for student carers at QMU.
Paul Traynor, from Carers Trust Scotland, said: “Young adult carers are four times more likely to drop out of college or university than students who are not young adult carers. Carers who have the opportunity and ability to go to university should not be negatively impacted because of their caring responsibilities. Our ‘Going Higher for Student Carers’ campaign wants to see student carers being put at the forefront of the higher education agenda in Scotland.
“We are pleased that QMU is publicity pledging its support for our initiative and we are delighted to have worked with QMU on the development of its Student Carers’ Support policy. This policy has the potential to positively impact the lives of current and future student carers at QMU; ensuring they are supported to have a fairer chance to be successful in their higher education studies.”
On a visit to meet with student carers at the University, Public Health Minister, Aileen Campbell, said: “Across Scotland there are 44,000 young carers who currently balance their education with their caring responsibilities. We want all young people to have the same chances and opportunities to fulfill their potential.
“That is why over the coming months we will be working with carers to find out if there is merit in a Young Carer’s Allowance, and will be looking for their help and views on shaping the Carer’s Allowance. It is only by meeting and hearing from carers first hand that we can really get an appreciation of the specific challenges they face and how their lives could be improved.”