20th June 2018
As local authorities are starting work on publishing their new local offer of services for care leavers, Barnardo?s is calling on them to carefully consider what can be done to help them.
In London, a new Barnardo’s programme Building Hope ensures young people leaving care have the opportunity of a secure home and support with their transition to independence, through training into employment.
The Building Hope Academy, a partnership between Barnardo’s and the construction industry group St Gobain, Barking & Dagenham College and Phoenix Community Housing, launched in Lewisham April 2018. The Academy currently runs a 12-weeks traineeship programme for care leavers aged 16-25, offering functional skills in maths and English, work placements, CSCS card training and intensive support alongside dry lining training – the skill of putting up plasterboard walls, for which there is an urgent need across the construction industry.
Young people who join the course will be supported to engage with industry employers to access apprenticeships or employment afterwards. The first group of young people and are expected to complete the course this month.
Donations to Barnardo’s can make a huge difference to care leavers. £10 could pay travel costs to a job interview while £25 could buy them a smart outfit to wear to a job interview.
Young people who have been in care are far less likely to be in education, training or employment than those who have not been in care. Overall 40% of 19-21 year old care leavers in England were Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET) in 2017, compared to 13% of all 19 to 21 year olds.*
The number of looked after children has increased in recent years at the same time as local authority budgets have been cut. At 31 March 2017 there were 37,720 care leavers aged 17-21 in England*. In 2016-17 Barnardo’s supported 3,200 children who had left care. Barnardo’s research** found that the main barriers to employment were a lack of qualifications and experience, the stigma of having been in care and mental health issues.
However, being NEET is not inevitable for care leavers and more can be done to close this gap and deliver better outcomes for children leaving care. In York and Cornwall for example, 74 per cent of care leavers aged 19-21 were in EET in 2017.*