NNECL were delighted to support today’s launch of the Care Leavers Covenant, a Department for Education initiative, to support care leavers leaving care. The event was launched by Nadhim Zahawi, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families and included performances from The Big House, interviews with care leavers and a panel discussion.
In his speech Nadhim Zahawi highlighted his expectations for the higher education sector:
Many universities already do a huge amount to support care leavers and some like Manchester and Leeds have already signed the covenant. One of my ambitions is to see more care leavers participating in higher education and I want all universities to set out how they will support care leavers to get into and succeed at university – for example by offering 52-week-a-year accommodation to care leavers during their first year.
The Care Leavers Covenant has been established to improve support to young people aged 16-25 leaving care. The initiative aims to harness the expertise and resources of businesses, education providers and charities to ensure those leaving care have the necessary support and opportunities to succeed and thrive. The initiative is being coordinated by Spectra First which has background in delivering national programmes and targeted programmes for care leavers.
Over 50 organisations from the public, private and voluntary sectors have committed their support to the initiative to date. Each organisation which commits to the Care Leaver Covenant is expected to offer a targeted package of support to care leavers which may include; work experience placements, internships, mentoring, financial advice, additional training and education.
Phil Bakstad, Co-Chair of the National Strategy Group said:
NNECL warmly welcomes the introduction of the Care Leavers Covenant. This visible demonstration of commitment by both government and the organisations signing up to the Covenant sends a clear message to care-experienced young people that a wide range of opportunities are open to them as they leave care and that they will be supported to achieve their aspirations, whatever they may be.
Significantly, the Covenant will provide higher and further education institutions with the opportunity to reaffirm their commitment to Care Leavers and further embed good practice in this invaluable work across the sector.
Spectra will be speaking at the NNECL conference on 28th November in Birmingham. If you were not able to attend the launch but would like to find out more about the Care Leavers Covenant, you can book your tickets here.