Opportunities at heart of Government open for young people leaving care

Young people leaving care will again be directly offered the opportunity to work at central government departments, as applications today open for this year’s Care Leaver Internship Scheme.

More than 500 internship opportunities for care leavers will be available at the heart of Government, including at the Department for Education and Department for Work and Pensions, among almost 20 departments and agencies.

The 12-month paid internships are aimed at helping care leavers to develop skills and competences that support them into long-term jobs. Applications will be open from Monday 7 September to Monday 5 October.

The scheme aims to address statistics that show that care leavers are more than three times more likely than their peers not to be in education, employment or training (NEET).

Children’s Minister Vicky Ford said:

At this time of global pandemic we must all intensify our efforts to support the vulnerable, and young people leaving care are among the most vulnerable in our society. Too often they do not have the same opportunities or connections with potential employers as those with stable families, they risk becoming unemployed and left behind.

We cannot let this happen, so as well as increasing support for care leavers as they become adults, Government Departments have worked to create real and practical opportunities to give care leavers a head start with a first job. This year’s care leavers internship scheme is more than double that of previous years.

Today, as we open applications to these internships, we are creating new opportunities for these young people and giving them the chance to fulfill their ambitions – no matter the obstacles they have faced.

This year’s internship scheme will offer more than 500 places, and follows the first meeting of the cross-Government Care Leaver Covenant Board, co-chaired by Education Secretary Gavin Williamson and Minister for the Cabinet Office Michael Gove, which will continue to look at access to better housing, healthcare and employment opportunities for young people leaving care.

Last year the Education Secretary committed to expanding the Internship Scheme, which has offered more than 250 opportunities to care leavers across Whitehall since 2017.

Published 7 September 2020