New year’s resolution for Sandwell businesses: Sign up for the Care Leaver Covenant
Sign up to the Care Leaver Covenant to be part of a unique national inclusion programme and support our care leaver community.
A large proportion of young people leave their care setting poorly prepared for independence. They frequently do not have the social and emotional confidence or the family and friend networks that would provide the confidence and resilience to face the challenges of earning a living and making their way in society.
The Care Leaver Covenant is a national programme that supports care leavers aged 16-25 to live independently. The programme creates meaningful opportunities in five key areas for care leavers and supports them to access those opportunities. The five key areas are:
- Independent living
- Education, employment and training
- Safety and security
- Mental and physical health
The Covenant is a promise made by the private, public and voluntary sectors to provide support for care leavers. Its aim is to provide additional support by making available a different type of support and expertise from the statutory care provided by local authorities.
The support provided by local authorities for all young people who leave care at 16, 17 or 18 includes being assigned a personal adviser to help them in the transition to living independently, support with finding accommodation and help with costs of participating in education, training and employment.
However, in order to provide a greater level of support to care leavers at this crucial stage during the transition to adulthood, wider society also needs to play a part. The success of the Covenant relies on a network of organisations from many sectors of varying sizes that have signed up and pledged their commitment to support and engage care leavers.
Each organisation that commits to the Care Leaver Covenant offers a support package to care leavers that is tailored to its specific expertise. Examples of the sort of activities that could be offered are:
- Work experience placements, work shadowing placements, internships, traineeships and apprenticeships
- One-to-one mentoring or pastoral support and guidance on various aspects of life, financial guidance, career/ employment guidance, educational prospects and opportunities
- Concessionary access to sport, leisure and cultural activities along with discounted retail offers
- Encouragement to get involved in specific activities and events which inspire personal interest and widen employment prospects
- Educational and training opportunities that will improve care leavers’ vocational and educational profiles and open up future employment opportunities.
To sign up to the Care Leaver Covenant there is a four step process to follow.
Step 1 – Internal planning
Think about how your Covenant offer could support your internal diversity and inclusion goals, social value goals or customer outreach goals.
For employment-related offers, your business could start by signing the Care Leaver Friendly Employer Charter, which gives organisations a set of behaviours to work towards to support care leavers to thrive in their workplace.
Your Sandwell business can become a care leaver friendly employer by signing up to the Care Leaver Friendly Employer Charter here.
Step 2 – Sign a ‘Statement of Intent’ form
This is a simple live-document that only requires a name and signature. These forms help to record initial interest in the programme.
Request a statement of intent form by emailing email@example.com.
Step 3 – Complete the Covenant sign-up form
The sign-up form is where you provide details on what your offer and opportunities are and how care leavers can access them. Begin the process here.
Step 4 – Promotion
Once your offer is confirmed, the Care Leaver Covenant team will promote it to the care leaver community.
Why not make it a new year’s resolution for your Sandwell business to sign up? You can sign up to the Care Leaver Covenant here: https://mycovenant.org.uk/support-the-covenant/companies-charities/
Find out about some other ways to give back to your community and feel good on our Giving back, feeling good page. Here you’ll find information about Sandwell’s community and voluntary sector – and how you and your colleagues can get involved.