Combined Authority takes important steps to support Care Leavers
In a pioneering move, the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority is set to propose a comprehensive approach to enhance support for Care Leavers. This initiative, outlined in a forthcoming board meeting paper, aims to address the challenges faced by Care Leavers and create a more inclusive environment.
Care Leavers disproportionately encounter multiple barriers and discrimination in various aspects of their lives, particularly in employment. To tackle these issues, the Combined Authority is committed to recognising Care Experience as if it were a protected characteristic.
The proposed actions include the delivery of an internal work experience program with reserved places for Care Leavers, promotion of apprenticeships, and the identification of opportunities within procurement processes. Additionally, the Combined Authority will continue to offer a Care Leavers Bursary for those aged 19-22, residing in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and enrolled in courses funded by the authority. The bursary recently reached a milestone, with one hundred young people leaving the care system having now received the bursary to fund education and training to support their futures.
“I am very happy to announce our commitment to the Care Leaver’s Covenant, marking a significant stride towards a more equitable future,” stated Mayor Dr Nik Johnson. “By recognising Care Experience as a protected characteristic and being willing to take action, we can provide meaningful support, ensuring these young people have the real and lasting opportunities to thrive they deserve.”
The Combined Authority has already taken steps to support Care Leavers, including providing a Care Leavers Bursary, independent career advice, and guidance through the National Careers Service. The authority has also signed the Care Leaver’s Covenant Employer’s Charter, guaranteeing interviews for Care Leavers who meet the minimum criteria for roles within the organisation.
The proposal will be presented at the upcoming board meeting, with Donya Taylor, HR Business Partner and Kate McFarlane, Director of Policy & Engagement, leading the initiative. Progress will be regularly reported through the Corporate Performance Framework, demonstrating the authority’s commitment to transparency and accountability.
The Mayor emphasised, “Raising awareness and actively engaging with stakeholders is crucial. We encourage other organisations and individuals to join us in creating a more supportive and inclusive environment for Care Leavers.”