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Bursary scheme boost for care leavers

A new government-funded bursary scheme has been announced to support care leavers to join an apprenticeship.

Care leavers aged 16-24 choosing to do an apprenticeship from August 2018 will receive a £1,000 bursary to help them in the first year of their apprenticeship, the government has announced.

Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Anne Milton said: “We know those leaving care can experience additional barriers to getting an apprenticeship.

“Everyone should get a chance to be able to start an apprenticeship and change their life, so I’m really pleased that as we see how we can make the apprenticeship system work better we are able to offer this extra support for those leaving care,” added Ms Milton.

The £1,000 bursary will be paid once to each care leaver in the eligible age range, when they start an apprenticeship after 1 August 2018. This is in addition to the £1,000 provided to both employers and training providers when they take on 16 to 18 year olds or 19 to 24 year olds who were in care or who have an Education, Health and Care plan.

Chief Executive of The Children’s Society Matthew Reed said: “It can be hugely difficult for children leaving care to manage their finances for the first time without the family support enjoyed by other young people and they are more likely than their peers to not be in education, employment and training.

“Care leavers have told us how they have struggled to make ends meet and pay the bills after taking up an apprenticeship on low rates of pay when they cannot rely on additional support from parents such as being able to continue living in the family home.

“That’s why The Children’s Society called on the government to offer an additional grant to all care leavers in their first year of an apprenticeship, when pay can be as low as £3.70 an hour, and we are delighted that ministers have listened. We hope this grant will make apprenticeships a more viable option for young people looking to find work after leaving care and help set them on the path to a brighter future,” he added.

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