Education, employment and training for care leavers

For the most comprehensive information about our Care Leavers Local Offer, download our Bridges SG App from Google or Apple.

Our Virtual School are always available to explore options, support applications and think about the adjustment to further and higher education/university.

If you have an Education and Health Care Plan (EHCP) this will stop if you go to university/higher education. In further education, like college, the EHCP can continue to be reviewed up to the age of 25.

Our Bridges SG App contains local apprenticeship opportunities, and our own apprenticeship team are committed to promoting our internal apprenticeship opportunities to care leavers

If you are unemployed, the DWP have developed a protocol for working with our Leaving Care team to support you into work.

If you are in employment, you can receive career coaching via West of England Future Bright program.

At South Gloucestershire Council we are committed to offering taster days and work experience to care leavers across the whole council. Our Works4Youth service is a Youth Employment Service for 16–25-year-olds who are not in any education or employment. It supports job readiness and employability skills such as CV writing and interview practice.

Alternative or job specific training may be needed for your chosen career path, and this is something we can discuss with you.

The Care Leaver Covenant host pledges from local and national businesses providing mentoring, job opportunities (like work experience, internships, and apprenticeships), discounts and activities dedicated to care leavers aged 16–25.

Financial assistance

If you are aged 16-19 years old you can access the universal college bursary of £1,200 per year. This requires at least 95% attendance and good behavior.

The apprentice bursary of £1,000 for care leavers aged 16–24 is also available via
the Government.

We can assist with university costs. This is discretionary based on your needs out of term-time:

  • For accommodation: up to £1,000 per academic year based on your needs out of term time, unless you are 'Staying Put' by staying with your foster carer after you turn 18
  • living costs grant, travel and some course materials: £2,600 per academic year for a maximum of 4 years
  • The living cost grant payment is based on a full-time course; if you are completing a Higher Education course part time, for example, HE courses through the Open University, your grant payment will be prorated.

You will need to confirm enrolment with your personal advisor (PA) to process payments, which will be paid per term/semester.

To celebrate the completion of your course with you, you will be provided a
Graduation Payment of £500. This payment is for those who graduate from a full-time study course of two years or more at college or University. You can only receive one graduation payment.

For those who choose alternative career routes to university, equipment needed for work set-up can be discussed with your PA.

Government grants for university students can be applied for via Student Finance

To get financial support for settling in, you can access your Leaving Care Grant (setting up home grant) for some items at university, and we can help transporting your belongings.

We can support with travel to interviews, going to and returning from university and support travel for an apprentice until first salary payment.

You will be entitled to a one-off payment of £50 for interview clothing but this can only be used for employment interviews, not college interviews.