Graduation is a proud moment for every young person, their family and friends. The swell of pride, the smart clothes and the photographs mark it out as a special day for everyone involved. Especially the young person transforming from student to graduate.
In Calderdale, young graduates who had recently left care enjoyed a second graduation ceremony as the Council recognised their achievements in a celebration at the Town Hall. The ceremony on Thursday 2 July was hosted by the Calderdale Leaving Care Service, the Calderdale Council partnership with Prospects, the education, employment and skills company, supporting looked after children and care leavers in the area.
The Mayor of Calderdale, Councillor Lisa Lambert, met young graduates and presented them with cheques to start their new careers in a ceremony celebrating their achievements. Nationally only 6% of care leavers attend university, compared to 49% of young people living at home, whereas 19 of the 154 care leavers in Calderdale are in higher education, more than 12%.
Cllr Megan Swift, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People’s Services, said:
“We want our young people in care and leaving care to achieve their very best in life. We provide a wide range of services, information and support to help them make the right choices and succeed. That can include advice on anything from accommodation and budgeting to health and employment. We are proud to offer opportunities such as work experience within the Council, and have recently committed to providing more apprenticeships for young people in care and leaving care.
“It’s great to see our care leavers doing so well and celebrate their achievements at the graduation ceremony.”
In Calderdale 154 young people are looked after when they leave care by the Calderdale Leaving Care Service. The Service is a partnership between Calderdale Council and Prospects, the education, employment and skills company.
Young people leaving care are one of the most vulnerable groups in our society. Action for Children report care leavers are three times more likely to be cautioned or convicted of an offence, four times more likely to have a mental health disorder, five times less likely to achieve five good GCSEs, eight times more likely to be excluded from school and less likely to go to university.
The Calderdale Service provides a team of pathway advisers and social workers providing leaving care and statutory social worker support for Looked After Children aged 15 and a half until they are 21, or they are 25 if they are in education, in Calderdale. Care leavers need support on a range of issues including accommodation, financial support, entry into employment or training and emotional wellbeing.
* Not the care leavers real names
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Notes to Editor
About Calderdale Leaving Care Service
Prospects’ Leaving Care Service ensures that young people who are looked after by Calderdale Council and who leave care, have their needs assessed and have appropriate plans in place. Calderdale Council awarded the contract to Prospects in 2011.
The Prospects Group is a dynamic and enterprising organisation providing a wide range of education, employment and skills services in the UK and internationally. At the heart of what we do is the drive to improve the life chances, skills and aspirations of everyone we support. Each year we support more than 500,000 young people and adults.
Alona de Havilland
0779 080 3882