Tel: 01803 861368 Email: communications@swdevon.gov.uk

Council supporting care leavers into employment

29 January 2024

South Hams District Council is offering more support to care leavers with new employment and training opportunities on the horizon.

Recent figures from the Department for Education show that 38% of those who leave care aged 19-21 are not in education, employment, or training compared with 12% of all young people.

For many care leavers, the prospect of getting a job, or even applying for one, can be overwhelming without the support in place.

The Council’s new ‘Care Leavers Employment Policy’ will help remove the barriers care leavers face by offering work placements, a guaranteed interview scheme, the ring-fencing of entry-level apprenticeships, and mentoring to help care leavers adapt to the working environment and secure permanent jobs.

The Council will also work alongside Devon County Council (DCC) and partner organisations to open up further opportunities. This includes signing up to the Care Leaver Covenant which will help the Council provide additional support outside of its statutory duties.

The Council is committed to doing all it can to support care leavers in the local area. In 2023, it introduced a Council Tax discount for young people who have left the care system up to the age of 25, free local leisure passes to support health and wellbeing, and worked with partners to offer support with housing needs. With housing top of the Council’s agenda, ways to increase availability of the right home at the right time is being prioritised – this includes supported housing as well as more general accommodation and will again be working with DCC to find solutions for young people in need.

Plans are also underway to see how the Council can further support its employees who want to foster and adopt children.

Cllr Julian Brazil, Leader of the Council, said: “Everyone deserves the best chance when it comes to securing a job or learning a new skill. Our new employment policy and work with partners such as Devon County Council will make sure that our care leavers, often vulnerable and in need of support, are given those opportunities.

“Our work doesn’t stop here, there is still much to do to support our care leavers. We want to build even stronger relationships with them so that they can have a bright and prosperous future.

“We will continue to support the most vulnerable groups in our communities. They are the ones who need our help the most.”

At the Executive Committee on 25 January, Councillor Nicky Hopwood, with a responsibility for the cost of living, said: “It is great to see all the support we are giving care leavers, particularly for those who may be struggling with the rising cost of living.

“These employment and training opportunities are a superb idea. We want to shout from the roof tops and get the word out so as many care leavers as possible know about the opportunities available to them.

“There are barriers that many care leavers have to overcome, such as the lack of family support. We want to do everything we can to give them the help they need as they enter the world of work."

If you are an employer interested in supporting a care leaver, whether that be through employment, apprenticeships or work experience, please get in touch with the Council by emailing hr@swdevon.gov.uk.

Posted in SHDC.