Advertisement
News

Business giants are pledging to offer care leavers a route into work

The Care Leaver Covenant has the support of Amazon, Barclays and Rolls-Royce as well as children’s author Jacqueline Wilson

More than 60 businesses have signed up to a new pledge to give care leavers a leg up into work.

Amazon, Rolls Royce and Barclays LifeSkills are among those which have signed up to the Care Leaver Covenant, launching today in Birmingham, offering internships, work placements and skills workshops.

Children’s author Dame Jacqueline Wilson, who famously set her Tracey Beaker novels in a care centre, has also added her backing to the project alongside children’s charity Barnardos. The aim is to create 10,000 work opportunities over the next 10 years to help care leavers bridge the gap from leaving the care system to having to fend from themselves and entering work.

Growing up in care can have an enormous impact on future prospects with 49 per cent of care leavers aged between 19 to 21 classed as not in education, employment or training (NEET) compared to 13 per cent for those growing up outside the system.

Care leavers are also at high risk of rough sleeping with Centrepoint research finding that 26 per cent of care leavers have sofa surfed and 14 per cent have slept rough since departing the system.

Advertisement
Advertisement

“Work was already underway on this project when I came into the job so credit has to go to the team here who have worked very hard to help kids who have been dealt the worst hand possible in their lives,” said Children and Families Minister Nadhim Zahawi. “There are thousands of kids who, for all sorts of horrible reasons, have had to be taken away from their parents. For them, we are the parent.

“I want to build an army of care leavers by giving them a leg up so they can change the narrative for people who are in this position.”

Premier League football club Liverpool are offering 12-week work placements with their foundation while Championship side Norwich FC have committed to offering work placements in hospitality, sports coaching and customer services alongside careers training.

There is also the promise of work placements at a number of museums and universities across Manchester and Leeds.

All government departments will also offer spots on the Civil Service care leaver internship scheme with around 100 places available in January 2019.

It is hoped that the covenant will dovetail with the government’s £5m Social Impact Bond scheme to offer access to education as well as the 3.2 million for 47 councils to employ specialist personal advisers to help care leavers as part of the Rough Sleeping Strategy.

Dame Jacqueline Wilson said: “I think it’s fantastic that at last there’s going to be a Care Leaver Covenant. About time too! If my fictional Tracy Beaker were real she’d be yelling ‘Yay!’

“Seriously though, I’m so pleased that care leavers will have the help, information and access they deserve so they can get on with their lives and fulfil all their hopes and ambitions.”

Image: iStock

Advertisement

Support The Big Issue Winter Appeal

Big Issue vendors can’t work from home and with severe weather warnings on the cards, they face a very tough and uncertain Winter period ahead.

Recommended for you

Read All
Undocumented migrants must be included in Covid inquiry, says charity
Covid-19

Undocumented migrants must be included in Covid inquiry, says charity

'Migrants are not enemy combatants': Plans to bring in navy to stop Channel crossings spark anger
asylum system

'Migrants are not enemy combatants': Plans to bring in navy to stop Channel crossings spark anger

Cassetteboy take aim at Boris Johnson and Partygate with their latest hilarious remix
Partygate

Cassetteboy take aim at Boris Johnson and Partygate with their latest hilarious remix

Exclusive: Home Office staff 'mingled and drank prosecco' during lockdown
Partygate

Exclusive: Home Office staff 'mingled and drank prosecco' during lockdown

Most Popular

Read All
Government branded 'disgrace' after bid to strengthen Sarah Everard inquiry voted down at 12.30am
1.

Government branded 'disgrace' after bid to strengthen Sarah Everard inquiry voted down at 12.30am

What are the Kill the Bill protests?
2.

What are the Kill the Bill protests?

Rose Ayling-Ellis: 'Suddenly it became quite cool to be deaf'
3.

Rose Ayling-Ellis: 'Suddenly it became quite cool to be deaf'

The Met Police is being sued for not investigating a Downing Street Christmas party
4.

The Met Police is being sued for not investigating a Downing Street Christmas party