Support for care leavers at pre-admission/application stage
- Engagement with care leavers from across the South West through their virtual schools
- Ring-fenced places on certain recruitment activities for care leavers
- Specific campus visit/talks for care leavers within the virtual schools
- Support and guidance for offer holders
- We are currently working closely with Plymouth City Council to plan more events throughout the academic year to raise the aspirations of care leavers while they are at school.
- We are also linking in with the Council to provide MADE sessions for all members of the virtual schools as well as their carers (www.made-training.com/online-courses/).
Support for care leavers while studying with us
- A dedicated Student Hub team as a single point of contact to support care leavers – we offer you an initial meeting at the start of the year and a follow-up meeting later on in the year
- A web page for care leavers
- A comprehensive Careers service offer for care leavers covering as large number of events, development programmes, individual appointments, interactive resources, work experience opportunities (from casual work to internships and placements), graduate-level vacancies, industry and sector insight and mentoring programmes, all accessible through our 24/7 platform MyCareer and the Student Hub. This central ‘on demand’ service is also complemented by Careers Service curriculum input into a large number of our academic programmes.
- A place to live for care leavers in University accommodation all year round
- Specific funding that’s just for care leavers – we give every care leaver a £200 Wilko voucher at the start of the course.
- Additional funding available (such as bursaries and grants) – as part of our Mayflower Award we offer an award of up to £1500 per academic year (criteria apply).
- The Plymouth Fund has been set up to encourage donations from the public to support students from disadvantaged backgrounds, including care leavers. We are currently looking to see if we can create an enhanced care leavers bursary for care leavers on the year 0 of the medical degree.
- Financial and funding advice from our Student Funding Unit
- Support for refugees and those seeking asylum – from September 2021 we will be offering scholarships and a living bursary
- Care Leavers are encouraged to access to our full range of Student Learning Services to support their academic studies which include:
- teaching sessions on academic literacies embedded in the programme of study
- academic writing tutorials
- peer assisted learning schemes
- study advice open hours with dedicated Learning Developers
- self directed digital teaching and learning resources
- As part of our Access and Participation Plan, we will closely monitor and track the cohort performance over the next 5 years to build a stronger evidence base for supporting Care Leavers.
- We are constantly reviewing our student support offering at the University and are committed to improving our care leaver provision. We will update any enhanced offer in due course.
Support for care leavers for after studies
- Personal invitation and priority matching for care leavers for our Professional Mentoring Programme enhance career and employability skills.
- Free graduation ticket and academic dress are provided to every care leaver.
- A Careers Service support package for graduates, all accessible through our MyCareer platform. This includes access to events, individual appointments, networks and resources and is wrapped up in a support package promoted through a number of career-related campaigns that specifically reach out to our graduates. Within these campaigns, under-represented groups, including care leavers, will be prioritised.
In addition to the support outlined above, we have a number of specific opportunities for under-represented student groups (which includes care leavers):
- A professional mentoring programme
- A small number of career development bursaries (up to £250). Please note that we are piloting this scheme in 2020/21
- A small number of externally funded work experience bursaries (typically in the region of £1000). Please note that this is often subject to change, depending on external funding criteria, but where possible we will always align these available funds to under-represented student groups.
We also have a range of highly engaging multi-media content to help all students with their CVs, applications and interviews (and other assessment methods), including online checkers and simulators.
In 2020/21 we have established a working group within the Careers Service to drive forward a number of actions relating to our Access and Participation Plan (APP) using a ‘theory of change’ lifecycle model.
We have also included some systems upgrades to ensure that under-represented students (including care leavers) are easily identifiable on our University-wide career management system, to allow for direct communications with these groups about opportunities and support we provide, including priority places or advance notices.
2. A Robust Employment Offer
The University is committed to supporting its increasingly diverse community of staff and provides additional support for particular groups including those that are underrepresented, including care leavers. Examples of the support that is on offer that could be of benefit to care leavers includes
- An Equality, Diversity & Inclusion team offering support and advice
- A range of staff networks that include parents and carers, grief and bereavement and LGBT+. We are continually expanding our staff networks so in the future could include a Care Leavers network
- An Employee Assistance Programme which offers a range of support services including online resources, a 24/7 helpline, counselling and advice
- A range of staff development opportunities including access to online learning, coaching and mentoring schemes
- Pastoral and spiritual support
- A range of employee benefits from staff discount schemes to flexible working and compassionate leave
- A range of wellbeing support / initiatives including those mentioned above plus training, physical and mental health support
The Careers Service offers a wide-range of vacancies through our MyCareer platform. Depending on the external employer, these will cover various rates of pay, start/end dates, locations, contract types whilst articulating the selection criteria (knowledge, skills and experience) requested by the employer.
Students and graduates can easily search vacancies depending on these criteria. In addition, we also promote a graduate jobs board for the whole of the South-West, called GradSW (where recruiters post regional graduate vacancies, which are open to any graduate from any region).
This particularly important for many UoP students who come from the region and stay in the region after graduation. This site also contains a useful directory of the major graduate employers in the region.
Oral health outreach – we use link workers in the community and a non-clinical outreach approach to work with homeless people, those with addictions etc. as well as communities who find it difficult to access health services.
Our civic mission – Plymouth is one of the first cities to sign up to the civic agreement and are committed to a process involving full consultation and reflection to understand our community connections. We are working on an agreement to set out the University’s role in supporting Plymouth’s future prosperity and wellbeing, rooted in a shared analysis of local needs and opportunities. We anticipate tackling inequalities, particularly health inequalities, will be a key theme. One of the areas will be looking at how we work with our communities.
Engaging Students in Knowledge Exchange – we are one of 20 universities nationally to be awarded funding to look at knowledge exchange opportunities for students. One of the key elements is to understand barriers to student engagement and ensuring all opportunities are inclusive. We know that students that take part go onto better employment opportunities but don’t fully understand barriers to taking part.