Your education and training as a care leaver

Thinking about education

We will help you to reach your goals and fulfil your potential by helping you to access higher and further education and work opportunities. Part of your Pathway Plan is all about what you want to do in the future and whether you want to go to college, university or complete an apprenticeship. You will have a chance to talk it all through with your Personal Adviser (PA). Personal Education Plan's (PEP) will also continue in the academic year you turn 18 and beyond this if you would like them too.

If you want your PA to support you with finding education, please ask. Before you meet your PA to discuss, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you have a specific career in mind?
  • What subjects have you studied at school or college?
  • Do you have a passion for something?
  • Have you had a careers appointment to talk through your ideas?

You will be able to find out lots of information about college or university online including entry requirements, open days, student life and much more. You will also be able to find apprenticeship vacancies and opportunities.

You can arrange an advice and guidance session with a student adviser who can help you choose the right course for you based on your current qualifications and career aspirations. If you don't have any qualifications, don't worry, there will still be some courses you can apply for. Your PA can help you with application forms and interview tips.

Most college courses start in September but there may be some which start in January. You will need to contact the colleges to find out more.

Going to university

If you are interested in going to university, but are not sure where to start, take a look at The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) website which has all the up to date information around courses and financial support as well as advice and guidance around what other options are available such as a gap year, apprenticeships and employment pathways. The UCAS website is also where you will make your university application.

Some universities offer care leavers the opportunity to gain a place on a chosen study programme, even if you don't have the required qualifications. You will need to speak directly with each university to get more information on the options available.

The PROPEL website is a directory which provides information on the support available to you from colleges and universities offering Higher Education (HE) courses across the UK.

Some universities provide support and scholarships to care leavers so make sure you check out their website for more information.

The Unite Foundation delivers a unique university accommodation scholarship for care leavers and estranged young people across the UK. The scholarship takes care of students' accommodation and bills, covering up to three full years of study

What about an apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships allow you to earn a salary whilst studying for a nationally recognised qualification and getting 'on the job' training. It's a way to gain experience, strengthen your CV and build your career. There is a wide range of apprenticeships available to suit every skill and passion and the training provider will offer support for any additional needs. It's a different way of learning compared to college or university, and you could learn skills that will be valued by potential employers.

Apprenticeships range from intermediate level (equivalent to GCSE level) right up to degree level and are available in a wide range of different industries. If you're not quite ready for an apprenticeship, then you might be interested in a traineeship.

Surrey County Council also offers specific apprenticeships just to care leavers, ask your social worker or PA for more information.

Can I get any help with money towards my education?

Yes, but how much depends on your age and situation. You can find some of the financial support available to you here, and you can also talk to your social worker or PA who will be able to help you find out exactly what you are entitled to.

Most young people in higher education are not entitled to welfare benefits. However, in some circumstances, you may be entitled to Income Support and Housing Benefit. Some of these circumstances might include lone parents, young people with long term illnesses, or those with a registered disability – they may be eligible for additional benefits whilst studying. Talk to your PA if you think you may qualify for help.