Amazing Apprenticeships launch Project Positive in Support of Hertfordshire Care Leavers

Lucy Neave

A brand-new Hertfordshire-based collaboration has launched that will offer care experienced young people tailored support to explore the wide range of apprenticeships offered within the county and will provide ring-fenced opportunities for high-quality employment through apprenticeships.

The unique partnership includes Amazing Apprenticeships, Hertfordshire County Council Virtual School and Leaving Care Team, ELSA CIC and has wide support from Hertfordshire LEP and other partner organisations.

The programme launched on 10th June with an inspirational opening address from Mark Riddell MBE, National Implementation Advisor for Care Leavers at Department for Education.

“Care leavers need a favoured approach to education, employment and training. There are a number of reasons why the apprenticeship rate is currently so low for care leavers – lack of awareness of suitable opportunities, the impact of low salaries on the ability to live independently, lack of familial support, lack of flexibility of a programme to meet individual needs.

Project Positive is a uniquely different approach to getting care leavers into employment. I am delighted to see that Hertfordshire County Council are supporting the programme, it will change the lives of care experienced young people.” Mark Riddell MBE, National Implementation Advisor for Care leavers, Department for Education.

Project Positive is a really innovative, partnership approach which will focus on high-quality opportunities and progression. Apprenticeships are a flexible way for care leavers to gain a qualification while earning a living. We have some fantastic employers involved in the programme already, and Hertfordshire is just the start – we will carefully monitor the impact that Project Positive has and look to scale the initiative nationally.” Anna Morrison, CBE, Director Amazing Apprenticeships.

Bringing together local Hertfordshire based employers to ensure high-quality opportunities are ring-fenced for care leavers, Project Positive offers businesses a robust programme of training and support, designed to develop their knowledge, awareness and understanding of the ongoing and varied needs of their apprentices.

According to a recent survey conducted by Hertfordshire County Council

  • 3% of 17-21 year old young people in Hertfordshire are NEET (Not in Employment Education or Training)
  • 17% of care leavers are struggling to manage financially,
  • 19% of care leavers feel lonely
  • 26% of care leavers feel unhappy

These survey results together with the bigger national picture are the driving force behind Project Positive.

“I am very excited to be leading on this worthwhile project alongside Virtual Schools, ELSA & Amazing Apprenticeships. We are all passionate about increasing apprentice opportunities for Hertfordshire care leavers, in turn increasing their life opportunities and supporting them to achieve and be happy in their lives. We encourage employers to jump on board this exciting program, that we are sure will make such a difference to care leavers lives!” Sam Jeffery, Care Leaver Service Manager, Hertfordshire County Council

Project Positive has the potential to make a huge difference to a care leaver’s life. Gaining an apprenticeship is the first step on a career ladder but work is much more than a transaction and provides individuals with a sense of purpose and belonging too. Thanks to everyone involved in the project, especially our participating employers.” John Brady, Virtual School Post-16 Manager