[Sub ID 4726] Entrepreneurial mentors for young carers (Carers NSW)

Submission ID: 4726
Organisation name: Carers NSW
Contact name: Ms Sarah Judd-Lam
State: NSW
Contact email: sarahj@carersnsw.org.au
Contact number: 9280 4744

Which priority group of the Try, Test and Learn Fund does your idea support?
Young carers

What need or issue are you trying to address?
It is often difficult for young carers to find employment that is flexible enough to accommodate their caring role. While many employers are understanding about the need to take time off to attend medical appointments or deal with emergencies, young carers often express that they don’t want to risk being let go, which is a particular risk for those employed on a casual basis. Young carers also report that they feel anxious when they are away from home, especially when it is difficult to arrange adequate replacement care or supervision while they are at work. These factors may prevent young carers from obtaining and maintaining work.

Self-employment may suit some young carers, enabling them to work from home if required, or arrange their hours to suit their caring responsibilities. However, small business development requires capital investment and specialist guidance, placing it out of scope for many young carers.

Carers NSW has acquired this understanding as a result of supporting young carers through the Carers NSW Young Carer program, consultation with young carer leaders and representatives in relation to this submission, and our analysis of data from the 41 young carer respondents to the Carers NSW 2016 Carer Survey.

What is your idea? Successful entrepreneurs across a range of sectors would be engaged to mentor individual young carers with an interest in starting a business. Flexible industries and social ventures, including innovative business opportunities that would benefit other young carers, would be emphasised. Mentors would undertake carer awareness training from Carers NSW so they could appropriately refer young carers to carer supports as required.

Once matched with a mentor, each young carer would develop a business plan and be linked in with existing start up training opportunities. Partnerships with existing entrepreneur and startup programs would facilitate this, and mentors would be encouraged to work with young carers to arrange office space with local community organisations, businesses or small business hubs. Mentors would arrange to meet or connect digitally with the young carer on a regular basis to support them in developing their business.

A portion of funding would also be put toward necessary costs involved in establishing the startup, such as technological devices, internet, licensing and registration. Time spent developing the business would not compromise young carers’ eligibility for the Carer Payment. Young carer participants would also be brought together on a semi-regular basis to share ideas and experiences.