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Today marks the start of Care Experienced Week, a week-long celebration of young people from care experienced backgrounds here in Scotland.

The campaign, which is organised by Who Cares? Scotland, seeks to highlight the opportunities available to care experienced people and the achievements of those who have spent time in care.

SDS became a ‘corporate parent’ in 2014, along with many other organisations including councils, colleges and universities under the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act.

Our role as a corporate parent is to understand the lives of Scotland’s care experienced young people and respond to their needs as any parent should.

In Scotland, we often talk about ‘care experienced’ people rather than ‘care leavers’, as time in care is an experience which can stay with you for life. And, as such, we understand that people from backgrounds like this require extra support when it comes to work and learning.

Outcomes for care experienced young people are consistently poorer than their non-care experienced peers. Nine months after leaving school, 30% of care experienced young people who were in care for part of the year are classed as unemployed. This is compared to just 5% of their non-care experienced peers.

This needs to change. Care experienced people have the same right to access opportunities that will help them grow and flourish in the world of work and learning.

At SDS, we have long been committed to supporting young people with care experience, and since becoming a corporate parent in 2014, that commitment has stepped up a level.

Care experienced people have the same right to access opportunities that will help them grow and flourish in the world of work and learning.

Karen McGuire, Skills Development Scotland

Earlier this year, we published an updated version of our Corporate Parenting Plan, which shows the progress we’ve made since 2015, and what is yet to come.

We’ve introduced all-staff training on the subject of corporate parenting, made sure that our career information, advice and guidance service is available to care experienced young people earlier in their school career, and made sure that care experienced young people are now entitled to our enhanced support service up until their 26th birthday.

I’m incredibly proud of the progress that we’ve made – but, of course, there’s still work to be done. There are still hundreds of young people who could use our help, and we’re working with partners across education, local authorities and the third sector to make sure we’re speaking to them.

Campaigns like Care Experience Week are the ideal opportunity to show young people from care experience backgrounds what support is available, and what they’re capable of achieving.

There is so much potential amongst this group of young people – and at SDS, we’re determined to help them reach it.

For more information

To find out more about the support we can offer care experienced young people, head to My World of Work

For more information on Care Experienced Week, go to

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