Hampshire County Council’s route to progression for young adult care leavers

28 October 2014

Continuing our series of blogs for National Care Leavers Week, Jude Robinson, Service Manager for Children’s Services at Hampshire County Council, outlines what is being done to ensure that young people leaving the care of the local authority have the best possible chance of progressing positively into further learning or employment.

Our Internship Plus (Traineeship) Programme provides children in care/care leavers with paid work experience and bespoke training, usually at level 1 or level 2, to support their progression to a full apprenticeship, or other employment. The Government’s Traineeship framework is funding the scheme and it forms part of the wider Hampshire Youth Investment Programme which gives young people apprenticeship opportunities within the County Council. This will provide 1,000 employment opportunities by 2018, and of these 150, will be for care leavers through our Internship Plus (Traineeship) programme.

Our programme is already having a positive impact on the life chances of some of our most vulnerable young people – 53 have started the Internship scheme, and of those completing, 50% have gone on to an apprenticeship, employment or further learning.

One intern on the scheme struggled to achieve in education due to time spent in care, changes in accommodation and health issues. She found it difficult to find work, particularly the kind of employment or work experience which could lead to the opportunities and professional training she aspired to. She had a series of casual jobs and became homeless.

Through our Programme, she is now working in a role that offers valuable experience. She is studying for an NVQ qualification in Business Administration and is hoping to gain an apprenticeship within Hampshire County Council. She now has a settled home life and is working towards a career in accountancy.

Another intern had a similar background, missing out on education while in foster care. He had never worked and found it hard to engage with those who wanted to support him. Our Programme has provided him with a job with in an outdoor-based role that he really enjoys. He has undertaken training and is currently studying for qualifications in maths and English functional skills. He hopes to gain an apprenticeship with the Council, when his internship finishes.

Finally, in her own words, one young person described her experiences on the Internship Plus (Traineeship) Programme:

“The main reason I decided to take part in the programme was to help improve my confidence. I had been in college since I left school and I had never worked before. I felt the programme was a great opportunity to see what working life was like and what would be expected of me.

“I enjoyed everything about the programme. I really enjoyed working as part of a team, meeting different people and telling them about the service.

“I’m now working at the County Council, full time, as a Technical Officer with Trading Standards. The programme helped me gain the knowledge that I needed for my current role. Getting the job has also been a real boost to my confidence. It is great to be working and to be earning my own money. I would definitely encourage other young people in care to get involved with the Internship Plus (Traineeship) Programme.”