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Government must give 20,000 apprenticeships to care leavers

Release Date: 18 Aug 2015

Ahead of GCSE results day, Barnardo's is calling on the Government to reserve thousands of apprenticeship places for care leavers.

With GCSE results around the corner, we are calling on the Government to make 20,000 apprenticeships available for young people, aged 16-18, from the foster care system to help them on the job ladder.

‘Looked after’ children face many challenges other young people do not. Some have as many as three or more family placements a year which severely disrupts their education. These young people don’t do so well at school and need extra help.

The 20,000 apprenticeship places would be less than one per cent of the 3 million new apprenticeships the Government has promised in the last budget.

Javed Khan, Barnardo’s Chief Executive, said:

Young people leaving the care system have ambition and talents. They want to work, to be financially independent and contribute to the country’s economy.

Too often, care leavers find the door to employment is closed. Getting an apprenticeship and proving themselves in work can open up the door to a successful career instead of a dependence on benefits.  “Young people are the future of Britain’s economy. They must be invested in and given the right support to get into work.”  

Most apprenticeships places currently depend on good GCSE qualifications. However, only 37% of care leavers pass five GCSEs at grades A*-C compared to other children.

Instead of apprenticeships depending on entry qualifications only, care leavers potential should also be taken into account. Apprenticeships for children from the foster care system should include intensive support. This would help them get the qualifications they need and go on to successfully establish a career.

Under the current Government proposals for new apprenticeships, large and medium employers will be taxed on the number of apprenticeships they can take, and then reimbursed to cover the costs of taking on an apprentice.  As an extra incentive, the Government could offer a larger payback to employers which give apprenticeships to young people from the care system.  This would capitalise on the growing apprenticeship market, the Government’s new apprenticeship tax, and fits into plans of reducing youth unemployment and growing the country’s workforce.

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