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Education, employment and training

Whether you want to stay in education or find employment and training opportunities there's advice and support available for you.

Redbridge’s Virtual School can help you to succeed in your learning. If you are aged 16-17, the Virtual School will help you with your Personal Education Plan (PEP) alongside your Social Worker and Personal Advisor. 

Your Personal Advisor can also support you to secure work experience. 

We have an Education, Employment and Training (EET) specialist in the Council who works closely with the Leaving Care Team. They can advise and support young people with their education and careers. Your Personal Advisor can also support you to access EET opportunities. 

Your Personal Advisor can help you with arranging volunteering opportunities. 

Redbridge Council is committed to working with residents to find employment and training opportunities, particularly those who were previously looked after by the authority. 

Further education aged 16-19 

You may be able to get financial support of £1,200 a year direct from your school, further education college or learning provider. 

Aged 19+ 

You can apply for a discretionary learner bursary as an older learner, direct from your education provider. 

Higher education aged 18-25 

All young people in higher education will receive a £2,000 bursary which will be paid in instalments over three years. 

We want you to do well and are currently committed to support you with your rent. You will be supported with finding accommodation during the holidays. You will have access to the Higher Education Financial Support Package which includes funds for books, travel and Wi-Fi. 

You will be expected to claim your maximum entitlement from Student Finance for tuition fees and a maintenance loan. 

A number of universities offer bursaries for care leavers. You can see which universities offer this on the Propel website and by searching the Care Leaver Covenant Connects service. 

Central government support 

You can access central government support via the following links. Your Personal Advisor will discuss with you the best route of supporting you.

CONNECTS service 

Care leavers and support workers can sign up to Connects service. This service is run by the national Care Leaver Covenant and will keep you up to date with relevant work, education and recreational opportunities, as well as information about the support that care leavers may be able to access. You will also be automatically entered into giveaways! 

You can also access free coaching to help you achieve your life goals through Become, Level Up and other services. You can also access bursaries, support and advocacy from the NYAS programme. 

We are working with our colleagues at the Department of Work and Pensions and can offer you the following support through the Jobcentre Plus Support Scheme for Care Leavers. 

Jobcentre Plus support for care leavers 

This is a summary of the additional support that Jobcentre Plus provides to care leavers claiming benefits. However, this additional help can only be applied if the Jobcentre work coach is aware of the young person’s care leaver status. Please encourage your care leavers to share this information with their work coach or when applying for Universal Credit. 

Every Jobcentre has a care leaver single point of contact to support the needs of care leavers. This individual will usually be your primary local Jobcentre Plus contact.  

We know young people leaving care should have a pathway plan which should capture quality information regarding the young person’s education, skills and employment journey and aspirations. Young people should be encouraged to share this information with their work coach to ensure these activities and aims are reflected in the plan (claimant commitment) they will co-develop with their work coach.  

Advanced Claim Preparation facility Care leavers can prepare to apply for Universal Credit up to 28 days in advance of their 18th birthday. Your local Jobcentre Plus point of contact will help book an appointment for the young person to support as smooth a transition as possible from local authority to DWP benefit support. 

Our Second Chance Learning Scheme (SCL) supports care leavers aged 18 to 21 who wish to catch up on the education they may have missed out on when they were younger. Housing Benefit or Universal Credit/Housing Support is available to those who take up full time study in non-advanced education (secondary level education). 

Care leavers have an Exemption from the Shared Accommodation Rate until they reach age 25 when claiming either Housing Benefit or Universal Credit and living in the private rented sector.   

The DWP Youth Offer (from day one of claim) provides employment support for young people, with access to the Youth Employment Programme  - the gateway to employability, skills and employment provision. The DWP Youth Offer also provides access to specialist Youth Employability Coaches for young people who have significant barriers to employment and the opportunity to access help from work coaches and the range of local partners present in DWP Youth Hubs. 

Jobcentre Plus work coaches also have access to a discretionary fund called Flexible Support Fund which can be used to address barriers to employment, such as travel expenses to attend interviews and tools and clothing/uniform to start work. It is a discretionary award based on the work coaches’ assessment of the young person’s needs. Care leavers should speak with their work coach ahead of starting work if they require any assistance. 

Care leavers are able to access the Work and Health Programme earlier in their claim than others. The programme provides up to 15 months pre-employment support and up to six months light touch in-work support, for those that want it.  

The civil service offers paid internship opportunities for care leavers through the Department for Education led Care Leaver internship scheme. These are 12-month paid internships aimed at helping care leavers develop skills and behaviours that support them into long-term jobs. 

The Local Authority has discretion to support those most in need of help with a small grant to cover daily needs such as clothing and utility bills until March 2024 through the Household Support Fund.