Leicestershire Cares’ young people took part in a focus group to help shape future pathways to employment and training for care leavers on 21 August 2019. The research has been commissioned by the Department for Education and conducted by Learning and Work Institute. Our care experienced young people had their voices heard, as they discussed what types of support could help care leavers to access and do well in employment opportunities.
The Learning and Work Institute are using the findings to identify good examples of employment programmes for care experienced young people, which will feed into a national approach to break down the barriers care leavers face when seeking employment and training.
The young people reported that the current model that Leicestershire Cares Flying Fish project roles out, has a number of strengths that could be replicated by the Department of Education’s potential new programme.
Flying Fish’s strengths lie in a holistic approach to working with care leavers seeking work and training, by reducing social isolation, supporting them with housing issues, life decisions, building confidence, providing support with finding and applying for opportunities, using Leicestershire Cares businesses members and networks to find work placements, interview training and work tours.
There is a high proportion of care leavers not in employment and training by the age of 19, compared to their non-looked after peers. There are a number of complex and interlocking reasons for this, including a lack ofstability in their lives up to that point, a lack of qualifications and not having the self-esteem, support, skills or experience to find a job. There is also the difficult decision care leavers face, when weighing up the financial complexities of being worse off than being on benefits, which doesn’t incentivise young people to get into work.
Leicestershire Cares are also leading on a local initiative to support businesses in making a commitment to employ more care leavers with it’s Promise to Care, which will be launched on 29 October 2019, as well as collaborating with the national Care Leaver Covenant.
Find out more about how we work with care experienced young people.