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Apprentices and traineeships for care leavers

Government should use apprenticeships and traineeships to help care leavers into work, urges the Public Accounts Committee.

Its report, which examines care leavers’ transition to adulthood, considers the support provided to these young people by housing, health, employment and education. It highlights the gap in the number of care leavers going on to higher education (only six per cent compared with one-third of all 19-year-olds). Interestingly, the rate of care levers not in education, employment or training (known as neets) with five good GCSEs, including English and maths, is the same as the rest of the population (15 per cent). 

Earlier in the year, NAHT Edge reported on Barnardo’s call for government to set aside 20,000 apprenticeships for young people in care. Commenting on this suggestion, the Committee recommends the Department for Education should “set out how it plans to use apprenticeships and traineeships to help care leavers.”

Speaking about the full range of support for care leavers, the Chair of the Committee Meg Hillier MP warned many young care leavers are being ‘cut adrift’ when they need help the most.

She said: "I believe young adults are being let down by the system that’s supposed to sport them. Many are being cut adrift when they need help the most. People who have spent their childhood in care are still getting a rough deal when they badly need to be guided and supported. 

“Despite much talk of supporting care leavers beyond the age of 18, we’ve heard of failing services, with inspections by Ofsted finding two-thirds of those provided by local authorities to be inadequate or require improvement. Local councils are spending widely different amounts of taxpayers’ money supporting these vulnerable young adults, but the outcomes vary widely too – and government hasn’t got a grip on why there’s no relationship between spending and outcomes.

“It’s time government reviewed its care leavers strategy to make sure these young people get the full support they need." 

Read the full Care leavers’ transition to adulthood report.

Page Published: 11/11/2015