An appeal to the community to support our Care Leavers into work

November 19, 2019

Can you connect with Cambridgeshire County Council?

At Cambridgeshire County Council we are committed to helping our young people who have been through the care system get the same opportunities to engage in Employment, Education and Training as the general population. Currently young people who leave care are drastically underrepresented in employment or further education. Nationally, 40 per cent of care leavers aged 18-25 are not engaging in any form or work or education. This can often be due to their turbulent childhood. At 18 our young people must leave the care network and become residentially and financially independent from the County Council, many leave the care network under educated, under qualified or under experienced for many of our entry level jobs. Many of our care leavers struggle with their finances, living off a very small budget, with no backing from a family that many of their peers will receive. They can struggle with homelessness, mental health issues and are over represented inside our prison system.

As Corporate Parents we have a responsibility to ensure our young people have the opportunity to overturn these statistics and give them the hope that they can become financially stable and emotionally independent. We are working hard on various initiatives across the county to help overcome the obstacles they face. Many may seem like minor issues to people who have not been through the care system. For example transportation to enable them to travel to a work place or further education establishment is a huge issue for our young people. We are pleased to have been awarded funding recently to provide our care leavers with bicycles to help them access employment, education or training, helping to overcome the issues of transportation, social isolation and also improving physical health and mental wellbeing. A free bicycle can be seen as a small gesture for many but has huge impacts for our care leavers.

We are reaching out to the community to help us develop a strong and sustainable support network throughout the county to guide our young people into careers and higher education. We are currently building a network of Care Leaver Business Champions, offering our young people financial discounts, sponsorship funding and employment opportunities.

Example of initiatives we are looking for organisations to champion are; a mentorship scheme for our care leavers, made up from mentors within the local business community, or sponsorship to fully fund Duke of Edinburgh places, kit and expedition costs for seven of our care leavers, to help build employability skills, boost their confidence and help them develop their own skill set.

This is a really exciting opportunity for local organisations to make a real impact to young people who through no fault of their own have become one of the most vulnerable groups in our society.

As a community we all have a social responsibility to support these young people. Whether through your social inclusion employment policies or through your Corporate Social Responsibility funding initiatives in the community, we would like to put care leavers on your radar and reach out to any organisations that feel they can support our young people.

To find out more, please contact our Specialist Personal Advisor, Joe Gilbert, who can discuss forming a partnership of support for our young people and naming you as a Care Leaver Business Champion.

Phone: 07767 013427