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Sunderland’s young carers get support with their dreams and aspirations

To mark Young Carers Awareness Day, Sunderland College’s brand new City Campus opened its doors to young carers from across the city to inspire them to continue with their education.

At the evening event, young carers were given the opportunity to meet lecturers, see the college’s facilities and try taster sessions across various subjects. Sunderland College are currently working in partnership with Sunderland Carers Centre to support young carers and offer an insight into the wide range of vocational courses on offer.

As full time carers, young people are often relied upon to look after close relatives who suffer from ill-health, care for younger children and maintain the up-keep of their home. As a result of their large responsibilities, their own career ambitions are often left unfulfilled. Young carers develop fundamental skills such as responsibility and reliability within a caring role that are useful in many careers.

Ellen Thinnesen, Principal and Chief Executive of Sunderland College, said that the college recognises the unique skill set of young carers, as well as the constraints and challenges that they face. She said “We are proud to recognise the skills of all young people and particularly want to help those who feel they may not have the opportunity to continue their education after school because they have a caring commitment. We offer a wide range of courses on a flexible basis and we welcome any young carer to join us. Lots of our staff are aware of the issues relating to the students who have caring opportunities and we have a skilled student support service in place, to ensure our student carers are supported not only academically but personally and financially. Now we have a strong partnership with the Sunderland Carers Centre, we’re confident more and more young people will be able to fulfil their career aspirations and we are delighted to be part of an event that really does shine a light on our commitment to achieving that aim.”

Sunderland College has developed a strong partnership with Sunderland Carers Centre to support young people in developing new interests and help them to move into further education.

Lisa Watson, Carer Services Manager at Sunderland Carers Centre, said “Sunderland College’s pledge of taster sessions at their new campus is a fantastic treat for the teenagers visiting today, when they are at a major crossroads trying to decide not just want they want to do in the future but what they can fit around their caring role. These young people would typically miss out on their childhood, teenage years and young adulthood and we are here to help them get some of that back.”

The college currently works to support existing students who are also young carers. Phoebe Collins, a young carer who is currently studying Level 1 Painting and Decorating at Sunderland College, said “Sunderland College has been very supportive to me as a young carer and I would encourage other young carers to come to the college to achieve their future career goals.”

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