Students at City of Wolverhampton College who have experience of being in care are receiving extra support to access education and training, leading to the organisation signing up to the national Care Leaver Covenant.
The covenant is a pledge made by the private, public and voluntary sectors to provide support for care leavers aged 16-25 to help them live independently and includes supporting them with any costs for participating in education, training and employment.
Through the college scheme, care-experienced students are supported by a dedicated team of three staff who act as mentors, accompany them during initial college visits and interviews, ensure they have the necessary information on their chosen qualification, give careers advice, and assist with accessing funding to enable them to purchase equipment and resources necessary for their course.
When enrolled at college, the students meet with their college mentor on a regular basis and have a weekly meeting with a member of staff from the Care Leaver Covenant who monitors their progress, ensures they are meeting their targets and are aware of further learning or employment opportunities.
As further support, students are able to access free treatments at college’s hair and beauty salons and free sessions at its sports centre and gym, and personal tutors have been trained to recognise the additional needs they may have and how to access the help required.
Rose Urkovskis, head of student entitlement at the college, said: “We know the importance of ensuring that care-experienced young people have the same opportunities as other students and have been running our support scheme for the past two years.
“It has been extremely well received by students, who know where they can access any support required and that any concerns or issues they raise will be dealt with in a confidential and timely manner, as well as by social workers and other staff from the local authority who have been extremely impressed with the positive impact that our service is having on the young people.
“We are delighted to have signed up to the national Care Leaver Covenant which demonstrates our commitment to supporting our care-experienced students at a national level.”
Natalie Latham, head of education partnerships at the Care Leaver Covenant, said: “The college has been very open to working with us to develop robust systems of support for their care-experienced students and to creating supportive pathways into employment for those in the community by signing the Covenant’s Care Leaver Friendly Employer Charter. We are delighted that they are now an official signatory and that their commitment is being recognised.”
Get details of support provided to care-experienced students at the college here