Ensuring the best possible start in life for all

A vital aim of government is to ensure the best possible start in life for all, regardless of background or circumstance.

The new Care Leaver Covenant has the support of more than 50 businesses, charities as well as every government department, all of whom are committed to providing work-based opportunities to young people leaving the care system.

40 per cent of care leavers aged 19 to 21 are not in education, employment or training, in stark contrast to the 13 per cent of this age group overall.

Such disparity cannot continue. The Covenant will assist young people leaving care to access the opportunities and fulfil their ambitions. Work placements and internships will be available with government departments, big businesses, professional football clubs, theatres and museums, in addition to training workshops or life-skills coaching.

In addition to work placements with organisations such as the Science Museum Group and Rolls-Royce, 12 month internships are also available with every government department in Whitehall, including 100 internships each lasting a year from January 2019.

Support and resources from Barclays Life Skills will also be available to assist care leavers to manage their money better; some young people in such circumstances may lack the safety net of financial support from their families.

This new Covenant will improve the options available to young people leaving care, whether they go into work placements, skills training or to study at university, so their potential can be nurtured and enhanced.

In many cases, young people leaving care have often overcome huge challenges, however it can sometimes be a struggle to reach the same achievements as others in their peer group.

The new Covenant will help all get the best start in life, and charities and businesses will improve the offer made to these young people as well as helping create a fairer society where everyone can lead fulfilling lives.

Henry Smith MP