Work and Skills

Care leavers receive major employment boost with launch of Greater Manchester Guarantee

Care leavers across Greater Manchester are to be supported with greatly improved employment prospects following the introduction of a significant new Care Leavers Guarantee and a Common Core Offer, backed by more than half a million pounds of Government funding.

The Greater Manchester Combined Authority has outlined a bold new approach to boost employment and training outcomes for young people who leave the care system across all 10 boroughs of the city-region.

The Guarantee and Core Offer sets out five key priority areas of focus to be delivered via a new Greater Manchester Care Leavers Trust Board. Those leaving care are to be enabled to:

  • Be better prepared and supported to live independently
  • Have improved access to education, employment and training
  • Experience stability in their lives and feel safe and secure
  • Receive improved access to health support
  • Achieve financial stability

In 2018 the Department for Education (DfE) launched its Care Leaver Covenant, as an ambition for businesses, charities and every Government department in England to sign up to commit to provide work-based opportunities to young people leaving the care system.

At a Combined Authority meeting in Stockport on 29 March, all 10 local authority Leaders approved the release of £550,000 of central Government funding to kick-start the city-region’s bespoke plans.

The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “We know life as a care leaver can be hard. Without the safety nets so many of us take for granted, such as parental support, everyday living can be a struggle when faced with barriers most people never encounter.

"That is why I want Greater Manchester to act as the parents of all our care leavers – this Guarantee is about our city-region’s bespoke system offering the support, encouragement and opportunities care leavers need.

“On my regular early morning rough sleeper walkabouts in Manchester city centre I meet too many people who have been through the care system. We have to do right by them and others like them who face their own challenges.

“In the autumn I hosted a roundtable event with individuals who had experienced the care system – our bold new approach has been drafted with them in mind. Greater Manchester’s Care Leavers Guarantee is a significant step in the right direction and something I am proud to prioritise.”

The ambitious new Guarantee will be underpinned by the Greater Manchester Guarantee for Care Leavers. It is proposed this guarantee will go much further than the National Care Leaver Covenant and comprises the following five elements, shaped and agreed in consultation with young people and endorsed by the Combined Authority in February:

  • No Care Leavers will be made intentionally homeless.
  • Care Leavers will be able to access a clear, consistent education, employment, and training offer.
  • There will be access to a mentor for every Care Leaver that wants one.
  • Care Leavers will be supported as a priority group within the health economy.
  • From September 2019, care leavers eligible for the Mayor’s Opportunity Pass will be able to travel for free on buses across the city-region. If funding can be identified and made available, free bus travel will be extended to care leavers up to the age of 21.

Cllr Rishi Shori is the GMCA Lead on Young People, and added: “In response to the commitment of Government to fund the development of a Greater Manchester Leaving Care Trust, the city-region’s local authorities and partners from the GMCA system have developed a response which draws on the best practice in supporting Care Leavers both nationally and regionally. It has done this by building on the experiences and strengths of each local authority, with the capacity of the GMCA.

“Now it has been approved, the funding will enable the project to be successfully delivered in partnership and across the 10 local authorities; promoting and delivering best practice for Greater Manchester care leavers.”

Article Published: 12/04/2019 10:56 AM