West Devon Borough Council is helping care leavers by providing more opportunities for employment and training.
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 sets out the support the Council is providing in addition to 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 support with housing needs. With housing a top priority for the Council, 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. The Council will continue to work with DCC to find housing 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 Mandy Ewings, Leader of the Council, said: “Finding employment can be a challenge, more so, for some of our more vulnerable residents.
“Our new employment policy will go a long way in supporting care leavers across the Borough who may be struggling to find a job or develop their skills.
“We are delighted to be able to open up the door to new opportunities, helping care leavers to thrive and flourish.”
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 email@example.com.