Photo from Catch22: A young women is providing guidance to another young woman; both are sitting on a couch together.

Catch22 has over 200 years’ experience providing services that help people in the toughest situations to turn their lives around. It works across children’s social care, with young and adult offenders, care leavers, ‘troubled’ families, and young people involved in gangs and/or substance misuse by running education, apprenticeship and employability programmes, and social justice and rehabilitation services.

The Children’s Society works with and for disadvantaged and vulnerable children and young people.  It provides support and advice services for those: at risk of, or experiencing, sexual exploitation; affected by adult substance misuse; with the care system; experiencing mental health issues; at risk of, going missing from home or care.  It also supports young refugees and migrants and carers, and undertake and publish research, and work to influence government locally and nationally. 

Following extensive research, we concluded that education, employability, and training for care leavers would be a key focus of the Care Leavers initiative. Between them, Catch22 and The Children’s Society have a long history of research and delivery experience with care leavers, apprenticeships and employment that has highlighted the challenges (real, systemic and perceived) that many care leavers face in taking up an apprenticeship. This includes low first-year wages, not meeting prerequisites, housing benefit reductions and a lack of personalized support to move into a working environment.

Our £536,000 over two and a half years in 2018 to Catch22 was to work in partnership with The Children’s Society in developing and implementing a bespoke apprenticeship scheme tailored to the needs of young people leaving care.

A key aim of the project will be to show how a co-ordinated approach can produce long-term outcomes for care leavers that outweigh the costs and divert care leavers from the negative social outcomes that they are often associated with.  It will aim to sway government policy, employment practices, apprenticeship training providers and local authority policies and practice.