As Children’s Commissioner, I have a statutory duty to provide advice, assistance, and representation to care leavers up to the age of 25, to ensure your rights are respected and you receive the services you are entitled to. I’ve made it a priority to listen to care leavers and reflect back your experiences to policymakers and public services. I am passionate about making sure that care leavers have the same opportunities as other young people.
You may have seen that last year, in National Care Leavers Week, I set out my ambitions for care leavers. During this week I also shared a practical guide to finding grants, funding, discounts, mentoring and career opportunities in a variety of areas. One of the things you’ve told me is that it is often hard to navigate careers, so for Care Day 2023 my office has now also created this list of career and employability resources for care leavers, I hope you find it useful. Also if you know of other opportunities we should add to the list contact us and let us know!
I also want to remind you that my Help at Hand team is here to support you on a wide range of issues including housing, financial support, education, and access to your full leaving care package. Help at Hand offer free independent advice, assistance, and representation. They particularly help with cases where you aren’t getting the support you are entitled to.
My team also run the IMO (In My Opinion) peer-led website which provides a space for you to come together with other teenagers in care and care leavers and share stories, experiences and achievements, and get and give advice.
Below you can find information related to:
- IMO education, employment and career resources
- Voluntary and paid opportunities
- Charities offering support
- Council run initiates
IMO education, employment and career resources
- A practical guide for finding discounts, grants, funding, career and mentoring opportunities.
- A practical guide to starting university.
- A list of university and college contacts – support details and funding information for care leavers and care leaver team contacts for UCAS coded UK colleges and universities.
- Inspiring career stories from care-experienced Meera, an Associate Director at the NHS and Jamie, a Manufacturing Services Executive at Rolls-Royce.
- Posts sharing a personal journey to becoming a social worker and the things I wish I’d known before becoming a care-experienced social worker.
- 8 tips to help you nail an interview.
- 7 CV-writing tips to help you land your dream job.
- Videos with advice about getting a job whilst in foster care, making the jump from care to college, and conversations with care leavers: getting a job.
- Volunteer Police Cadets: Adventure, community and a CV they’ll salute you for
- How my experiences helped me with my apprenticeship.
- Throughout the different series of The IMO Podcast there have also been stories of finding jobs.
- Why should I join my local children in care council.
Voluntary and paid opportunities
- John Lewis Partnership have the Building Happier Futures initiative offering apprenticeships to Care Leavers.
- The Civil Service Care Leaver Internship Scheme is a flagship scheme that gives care leavers the chance to benefit from a 12-month paid internship in a central Government department/agency. If you think you might be interested, we have shared Louise’s experience of this scheme on IMO.
- The Care Leaver Covenant post opportunities for care leavers. If you search within this, they have some organisations who specifically offer CV and interview skills such as Clarke Willmott.
- The Department for Business Innovation & Skills developed a guide in 2015 for skills support for care leavers.
- A lot of museums offer volunteer opportunities and provide volunteers with training to do their roles, this includes the Science Museum, Museum of London, Natural History Museum, V&A, British Museum, Design Museum, Royal Museums Greenwich (and many more – including local museums who are very keen to have more volunteers).
Charities offering support
- Smart Works is a brilliant charity providing career coaching, one-to-one interview support and clothes for interview for unemployed women or women on 0 hours contracts. My office are referrers so care levers or professionals working with them can contact Help at Hand or IMO If they would like to be referred (Help at Hand or IMO: [email protected]). We have shared more in our video with Kim, a care-experienced Project Manager on the Civil Service Fast Stream currently working with Smart Works.
- Drive forward foundation offers support for care leavers.
- Barnardo’s offer Employment Training and Skills (ETS) courses.
- Become offer a variety of resources including From care to careers: five key messages on supporting care leavers into employment.
- Thrive is a digital platform offering support for care leavers.
Council run initiates
- Surrey County Council have a list of various resources that can support care leavers into employment.
- Waltham Forest also have an employment for care leavers page.
- The Mayor of London site shares support for care leavers.
- There are lots of other organisations and children in care councils who share support for care leavers and help with employment which can be googled, there is some information on Hounslow’s website about how to do this, but check out your own local council for more information.