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Care leavers

Increasing employment opportunities for young people with care experience

A group of people. dressed casually, work together to plan a project using post-it notes and print outs. The table they are working on is very busy, with notebooks, phones, mugs, glasses and more spread across it.

This Peer Learning Programme was created jointly by the National Leaving Care Benchmarking Forum and the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation’s Leaving Care Learning Programmewith the aim of raising the profile of care leavers’ employability following the COVID-19 pandemic.

The programme’s objective was to support leaving care teams in Local Authorities (LAs) to learn from other local areas and apply that learning to developing their own practice in working with local employers to provide employment opportunities for young people with care experience. Each Local Authority outlined an issue they wanted to work on during the programme.

Each session involved:

  • reflections on progress since the previous session,
  • input from a case study from a specialist VCS organisation, another Local Authority, or young people,
  • opportunities to ask questions of the case study presenter, and
  • action planning for the period between the sessions.

The programme was delivered through a time of fluctuating COVID-19 restrictions. All sessions were delivered online. Participants experienced a number of challenges in progressing their issues because of the impact of COVID-19, most significantly restrictions in visiting young people, accompanying them to interviews etc, and in engaging with employers face-to-face.