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There are thousands of Care Experienced young people in Scotland and many are supported by Skills Development Scotland (SDS) at different points in their lives.  

While the number of Care Experienced young people has been falling in recent years, Skills Development Scotland’s role as a corporate parent has never been more vital.

The third annual Care Experienced Week began on Friday 23 October and runs until Saturday 31 October. It was started by Who Cares? Scotland as Care Leavers Week, but changed to Care Experienced Week in 2018 because people don’t leave their care experience behind them when they leave formal care. It is part of who they are and Care Experienced Week is a way to for them and other people to acknowledge that. 

Figures from Who Cares? Scotland show that Care Experienced school leavers: 

  • continue to have lower attainment than other school leavers 
  • leave school earlier than their non-Care Experienced peers   
  • are less likely to be in a positive destination nine months after leaving school 
  • are more likely to be unemployed nine months after leaving school 

Edinburgh-based careers adviser Joanne Holmes knows the challenges Care Experienced young people face and works at well-attended drop-in and job club sessions in partnership with Edinburgh Council’s Throughcare and Aftercare Services at their Hub. For the moment the drop-in sessions are being delivered digitally.

Joanne believes the sessions are used often by young people as colleagues are approachable, available, non-judgemental and able to provide practical support.  

One young person who came along to the sessions was Sammie Armitage who had been in care from the age of 13.  

Thanks to her personal determination and ambition, with solid support from Joanne and her colleague Louise Winser, SDS and partner organisations, she is now working for a global financial services company. Read Sammie’s story here 

Joanne said: “By using the care leavers job club and the SDS careers centre Sammie got to know Louise and I very well. This meant that she recognised two people when she came in and felt like she was welcomed when she came to see us.” 

SDS’s approach as a corporate parent has always been one of consulting with and listening to Care Experienced young people, early intervention whenever possible and finding out how best to support them as individuals.

SDS’s Corporate Parenting Plan 2018-21 runs until next March and the organisation is committed to the creation of what will be the organisation’s third plan. The recent Independent Care Review will influence the shape and content of that plan. 

At its core will be SDS’s role as an advocate for the voice of Care Experienced young people and a catalyst for change in improving their career journey. This will be best achieved by talking and listening to young people, colleagues and partners about the importance of relationships and the difference these can make.

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