Opportunity | Details

Care Leavers Wanted



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University of Salford

Summary: Supporting care experienced young people to fulfil their potential.

Further Details:

1. Student

The University of Salford recognises the challenges that young people face when they leave the care system and begin to live independently. We believe that all parts of society have a responsibility to support care experienced people so that they can make a successful transition to adulthood. The actions to support them should be in their best interests, promote their health and wellbeing and secure the best possible outcomes for them. This is a statement of what we will provide and what we hope to implement at the University. We hereby make a commitment to undertake the following actions that will help improve care experienced people’s life chances.


In 2016/17 40.2% of Care Leavers were not in education, training or employment. This has remained relatively static and remains so.

The Care Leaver Covenant launched in October 2018, as part of a government strategy to support people leaving care to become independent. The covenant encourages organisations to offer care leavers a variety of work experience opportunities.

The criteria for signing up to the covenant for universities is a three-pillar approach.

Student Lifecycle

The first pillar, around the student lifecycle is already embedded into the work the University of Salford does. Care Experienced young people are a target group in our outreach work; they are recipients of University funding (dedicated care experienced bursary). All students are contacted by a dedicated trained team in askUS (our front-line staff team in Support Services) before they arrive and throughout their time at University. Additionally, the University is a member of all the appropriate partnerships and good practice forums, both nationally and regionally. We are a member of NNECL and contribute staff time as well to the charity (a staff member is Chair of their Board of Trustees). We are also involved in piloting the upcoming NNECL Quality Mark in Greater Manchester, part of which is a commitment to the Care Leaver Covenant. Both the Care Leaver Covenant and the NNECL Quality Mark commitments will be integral to ensuring our support in this area is the very best.

Pledges 1-18 Demonstrating our Commitment to the Student Lifecycle:

1. To support care experienced young people to fulfil their potential by working in close partnership with local authorities, Virtual School Heads, Designated Teachers, residential unit staff, foster carers, other universities and colleges, local and national charities and other professions that work with people in care in a way to provide the best opportunities for care experienced young people to access higher education and enhance outcomes. This includes delivering training on the higher education experience to all these groups if required and being an active member of the Greater Manchester Care Experienced Education Partnership and Greater Manchester Highers’ work on care experienced young people. We believe to change lives and outcomes we all need to work together.

2. To contact and provide information to all care experienced applicants who have disclosed their status via UCAS and registration or by direct application, about the support we provide as soon as possible after application. To provide advice and support throughout this transition period.

3. To ensure that we monitor progression and retention throughout their journey, so that we know when to act and make changes to support that best suits their needs.

4. To encourage disclosure so that we can provide support as early as possible and to ensure that they understand that the information they provide to us is confidential and that we will only share after asking them.

5. Engage with, continue membership and support the work of the National Network for the Education of Care Leavers (NNECL) and its regional group in the North (NorthCLASS) and subgroups in Greater Manchester to ensure the education and the progression of care experienced young people is a priority for all stakeholders we work with. The University of Salford is proud to be a founding member of NNECL, involved in the pilot project for the NNECL Quality Mark in Greater Manchester and an early adopter of the Care Leaver Covenant.

6. To ensure that all open days and applicant days are promoted and accessible to care experienced young people and to provide bespoke open days for care experienced young people annually with our partners at Greater Manchester Higher. Additionally, we will promote and provide individual open days for people from care who would prefer this to a group open day and events (Virtual when necessary).

7. To continue to support and be actively involved in organising the annual Greater Manchester Care Leaver Awards, which was started by the four universities in Manchester and has grown into a huge event celebrating the amazing successes of care leavers in all areas of life across Greater Manchester

8. Work with Children in Care Councils to promote educational opportunities with care experienced young people in Greater Manchester.

9. Work to support the Greater Manchester Combined Authorities ‘Care Leaver Offer’, which is championed by the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham.

10. Submit to the NNECL Quality Mark for supporting care experienced young people and aim to achieve the gold standard as a visible sign of our commitment.

11. recognising that care experienced young people are not always ready for university at eighteen, we will ensure that university support is available when they are ready, whatever age they may be. We will also review age restrictions on financial support, currently set at 25.

12. To prioritise flexible accommodation options, in association with our accommodation provider/s, so that care leavers have a place to call home for the duration of their study if necessary. To provide help with setting up their accommodation if necessary, and to provide help and information about the cost of moving into accommodation.

To liaise with accommodation providers with any ongoing issues and problems they may face. To help with the cost of guaranteeing their accommodation choice.

13. To work with the person’s local authority to ensure that university and local authority support is aligned. To work together for the best outcomes for the young person’s future career and life. To promote joint working in Pathway Planning for young people at University.

14. To provide Care Experienced Bursaries (currently £1000 per annum with eligibility criteria) and prioritised Salford Support fund monies to care experienced people to both reward aspiration and to help students when in real need. To provide money and budgeting advice so that care experienced students at the university can make the most of their money and are prepared for their future lives. Review the bursary regularly, including the amount to ensure that is relevant and useful. Ensure that care experienced people have priority to hardship funds when required.

15. To provide named contacts for care experienced people to go to and to ensure that this is promoted on the care leaver web pages for the University (http://www.askus.salford.ac.uk/page/care_leaver), via the Propel website and at agencies that work with care experienced people. These people will regularly promote opportunities to student care experienced students that could enhance their University life and future careers. Named contacts will stay in contact with students throughout their degree, if this is needed and wanted, by the student.

16. To actively promote the success of our care experienced students and graduates and to provide role models for other young people to achieve.

17. To raise awareness and provide training to staff so that we all understand the barriers that care experienced people may face, and so they know how to refer on for specific support if necessary.

18. To recognise that graduation and beyond can be problematic for care experienced people. On this ‘happy’ day they can lose their (corporate) parent’s support, their accommodation; and they may have to find a graduate job quickly without being able to rely on parents. The University will commit to staying in contact with its care leavers helping and advising through their careers and following their successes in their future lives.

19. To advocate for external support with local authorities and agencies if required.

20. To treat care experienced students as individuals, treating them with respect. To recognise that being care experienced is not a stigma but something that is just one part of them that cannot be changed.

2. A Robust Employment Offer

This pillar is mostly new to the University sector, so in it we set out what we do already, what we want to achieve in 2020/21 academic year, and our longer-term plans. We have worked on this closely with Next Steps in Salford, the local Leaving Care Team and plan to continue to work together on delivering this, but for all initiatives they could be rolled out across Greater Manchester if needed. The work here will best be looked at over several different experiences and starting points from Graduates to NEET, recognising that the needs for local care experienced people are different.

Pledge 1: Work Readiness:

a. Currently we:

Work with local authorities on an ad hoc basis to understand the skills that care leavers have, not just for university, but for up skilling, and work preparation.

Work in partnership with Pure Innovation/ Eccles College/ SCC on a ‘Universities Supported Internship Programme’ in which Care Experienced young people have priority. We recognise that care leavers make up a large proportion of young people in Salford with learning difficulties which we address by this scheme. This year we will be looking at the outcomes of the programme to ensure that the transition steps to paid employment are robust.

b. By the end of 2020/21 academic year, we plan to have in place:

i. An annual Greater Manchester HEI ‘From Care to Work Day’ with the other HEI’s (and possibly FE) in Greater Manchester similar to what we do for year 11 & 12 students in the annual ‘Step Up to

Uni’ (Greater Manchester Higher), but with the emphasis on preparing for work.

ii. Working with Salford City Council, we will have completed an evaluation of skills and passions of the NEET young people in Salford to see if programmes that are suitable for them can be run in the future. There is little point of running traineeships and taster days if these do not match the ambitions of the young people, so it will be wise to do some groundwork to look at what is needed initially.

c. In the longer term we hope to achieve:

i. A programme of employability skills for NEET care experienced young people in Salford from the information gained from the above action if this was seen as appropriate. This would run one day a week over several weeks and will be incentivised by the Leaving Care Team, Next Steps, (no change in benefits or payments, free bus passes) and the university (lunches, space, Careers Consultants time, money to buy work clothes. Jointly run by Salford City Council and Salford University (Careers, SEE) and maybe a guest employer, this could include interview skills, CV writing, guest speakers (sourced by Alumni team) and the young person could at the end be matched up with an employability mentor, either from university staff or an organisation that has a relationship with the university.

Pledge 2: Work Experience

a. Currently:

i. This will be a new area for the university as we have not previously targeted care experienced people for work experience opportunities, although we have in the past done one off events working with local authorities and charities (for example work experience opportunities in construction for care experienced young people working with a University sub-contractor, BAM Construction). If such opportunities arise again, we will repeat such opportunities if appropriate.

b. By the end of 2020/21 academic year, we plan to have in place:

i. An action plan based on the skills analysis work above of the types of work experience that would be most useful for local care experienced people. This will be co-created with Salford City Council’s Next Step team.

c. In the longer term we hope to achieve:

  1. Successful implementation of the above action plan.
  2. Explore possible Involvement of University partners such as SalFOOD in a hospitality course / apprenticeship etc for care leavers.

Pledge 3: Entry level Jobs

a. Currently:

i. The University of Salford employs very few people at entry level grades (below Grade 5) so the opportunities at present are limited. Human Resources are currently having conversations with Salford City Council and Greater Manchester Combined Authority regarding successful Positive Action schemes specifically for care leavers that they have adopted with the view of doing the same at the University.

  1. By the end of 2020/21 academic year, we plan to have in place:
    1. Entry level roles at the university (Grades 1 – 4) are promoted early

      to Greater Manchester local authorities and Virtual Schools.

    2. A work mentor trained in the barriers care leavers face and to act as a buddy to care leavers employed by the University. Eventually the mentoring role would be offered to a care experienced employee to mentor new care experienced staff.
    3. Apprenticeships – either ones that the university run as an employer or Higher Apprenticeships it runs as a university – are promoted early to GM local authorities – Leaving Care Teams and Virtual Schools via pre- established contacts.
  2. In the longer term we hope to achieve:

    i. Depending on the outcome of iii) above, work trials or guaranteed interviews for these as is done in the local authority.

Pledge 4: Current University of Salford Students (Employability)

a. Currently:
i) Continue to train care experienced students as paid University

Ambassadors (Insight Ambassadors). Guaranteed employment to all care leavers who want it to hold this role.

  • ii)  Care leavers are targeted in our Graduate Internship Scheme (available to current students) (https://www.salford.ac.uk/askus/work-and- careers/search-for-a-jobfind-a-placement/paid-internship-opportunities-For-students-and-graduates)
  • iii)  In Year 2 & 3, care experienced students encouraged to join a suitable employability mentoring programme, where they will be mentored by someone in industry. This could form a specific strand on an existing programme run by the University.
  • iv)  A dedicated Careers Consultant trained to work with care experienced people whilst at university. Training for this role will be provided by Salford City Council & the University’s Student Inclusion & Diversity Manager
  • v)  Encouraging care experienced students on courses where placements are non-mandatory, to undertake them. This includes outward mobility opportunities as part of the University’s ‘Go International’ programme

b. In the longer term we hope to achieve:

  1. A peer support scheme where individuals will be trained on

    supporting care experience individuals and care experience individuals themselves will be encouraged to participate

  2. Possibility to be explored of paid Summer internships for a care experienced or estranged students.

Pledge 5: Graduation & Beyond (Employability)

a. Currently:
i. Continue to target and promote the university internship programme

to care experienced and estranged students. (https://www.salford.ac.uk/askus/work-and-careers/search-for-a- jobfind-a- placement/paid-internship-opportunities-for-students-and- graduates)

b. By the end of 2020/21 academic year, we plan to have in place:

  1. Use successful care experienced graduates as role models and

    promote this widely both externally and internally.

  2. Look into revisiting the summer post-graduation 3-day programme for care experienced and estranged students that offers attendance at a course of employability skills which includes networking skills, in return for a graduation bursary of £300 to buy work -related clothes or equipment.

iii. Investigate the possibility of a Care Experienced and Estranged student graduation meal in recognition that very often the day isn’t a celebration as it should be

c. In the longer term we hope to achieve:

i. Explore the possibility of a potential postgraduate paid work experience opportunity

Next Steps

If you would like more information please contact:

Arron Pile
Student Inclusion & Diversity Manager
0161 295 2152

Care Leaver Covenant

Any Queries?

If you have further questions or would like any more information, you can contact the Care Leaver Covenant at any time.

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