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Children's Commissioner calls on local authorities to introduce a Care Leavers Apprenticeship Guarantee.

By Anne Longfield, Children's Commissioner for England

In wanting to improve the prospects for care leavers, I used my statutory powers to collect data to find out how many care leavers are on apprenticeships and commissioned the Centre for Social Justice to write a report which looked at why comparatively few do so.

The report found that there are serious barriers to care leavers becoming apprentices. In some areas less than 1% were on apprenticeship schemes and almost one in five local authorities are estimated to have less than 3% of care leavers on apprenticeships.

Only 6% of care leavers enter higher education compared to 47% of the general population. Almost 38% of care leavers are not in education, employment or training compared with 11% of all young people.

A high quality apprenticeship can provide a solid foundation for a young person’s future and their prospects of long-term employment. Despite this, children in care and care leavers are not being encouraged or supported into apprenticeships.

I am calling on local authorities to guarantee every care leaver who would like one, an apprenticeship that meets their aspirations.

The Delivering a Care Leaver’s Strategy for Traineeships and Apprenticeships report makes a series of recommendations that include:

  • Redirecting the Apprenticeship Levy to support care leavers starting apprenticeships and removing any financial barriers to care leavers starting high quality apprenticeships.
  • Extending the offer of local authority support for looked after children to age 25, with personal advisers working with them from age 14 as a source of support, information and advice.
  • Getting care leavers ‘work -ready’ and improving funding and delivery and clarifying traineeship terminology.
  • Asking the Government to work with schools and employers to promote apprenticeships for school leavers.

It is vital that we make sure children who are in or leaving care are properly supported so they continue to thrive when they have left care.

I warmly welcome the Government’s recent care leavers strategy and would like to see better support go into higher or further education, employment or apprenticeships.

CSJ Report: Delivering a Care Leaver's strategy for traineeships and apprenticeships

Prime Minister's renewed fight against modern slavery is timely and hugely necessary.

By Caroline Haughey

This week the Prime Minister announced new plans to build on the Modern Slavery Act she implemented as Home Secretary. This Act was built from the Centre for Social Justice's report, It Happens Here: Equipping the United Kingdom to fight modern slavery. Having consistently and passionately called for stronger laws, better resources and a coordinated response to effectively end slavery in this country, we welcome the Prime Minister's announcement.

Mrs May has appointed Barrister, Caroline Haughey, to lead an independent review on the Act. We have asked Caroline to reflect on this appointment.

Having had the privilege of being asked to review the Modern Slavery Act 2015 it is heartening and reassuring that we have a Prime Minister who is prepared to lead by example and set the international bench mark in the fight against human trafficking and  modern slavery.  I welcome her positive and proactive response to my findings.

The creation of a government task force focused exclusively on this heinous crime reflects, I believe, the Prime Minister’s desire to ensure that all aspects of government recognise their responsibilities. Be it those in education and health with safeguarding in their remit to business and commerce ensuring high standards of employment.

The collaborative approach with international level investigative authorities is vital, and I can see the National Crime Agency being encouraged to have a single point officer responsible for this, working with the Anti Slavery Commissioner.

The creation of the International Modern Slavery fund is inspired;  targeting the problem at source, allowing early intervention for potential victims, educating investigators and prosecutors and enabling more productive international policing as well as enhancing diplomatic relations.

CSJ Report: It Happens Here: Equipping the United Kingdom to Fight Modern Slavery

CSJ Report: A Modern Response to Modern Slavery