Early success for Project Apollo – supporting care leavers into education, employment & training

Early success for Project Apollo – supporting care leavers into education, employment & training

Tash Bright No Comment

Project Apollo, launched in October 2018, is a programme offering support to young people leaving care helping them to move into education, work and training. The project, commissioned by Sheffield City Council’s Leaving Care Service and delivered by Sheffield Futures, will help 100 young people towards a brighter future with careers guidance, help applying for opportunities, work experience, practical careers advice and barrier-busting long-term support.

We recently held a local launch event with local councillors, employers, training providers and representatives from Department for Education. We were lucky to introduce three care leavers who are engaged with the project who took part in a Q&A, discussing the support that they needed and had received so far. This informative session was eye-opening and the group were wished the very best for the future.

There has already been success for Project Apollo, with dedicated Transition Coaches providing tailored support to each young person on the programme, guiding them in to education, employment and training.

Department for Education data reveals that nationally between 2014 and 2017 the amount of 19 to 21year-old care leavers classed as not in education, employment or training (NEET) rose by 6% to 10,250. The data shows that nationally care leavers are three times more likely to be NEET than their peers.

A Higher Education Policy Institute report in 2017 shows that only 6% of care leavers in England were in higher education and ‘at every key stage, the academic performance of children in care is worse than their peers.’

The programme has already signed 41 young people signed up and receiving support from their Transitions Coaches and we have already helped:

  • 1 young person to achieve an apprenticeship as a Teaching Assistant.
  • 1 young person to receive a job offer at local precision engineering company.
  • 1 young person to gain employment at Sheffield Futures as a youth worker and to have their say as a Sheffield Young Advisor.
  • 3 young people to gain employment at local call centres.

Project Apollo has also helped 7 young people to access training opportunities and helped to demonstrate the opportunities and experiences available to the group, by organising work experience at a variety of employers including a beauty salon and a livery yard.

Our Employer Engagement Officer has been busy meeting with employers across the city, organising work experience, mock interviews, tours around workplaces and more. Civil Service Local has generously offered a half-day session full of enriching and engaging activities, meetings and games to inform and bring to life the roles within the Civil Service. For example, they will be able to sit in on a real ‘standing meeting’ and will get to talk with a real apprentice. After this, they will be able to apply for traineeships, apprenticeships and direct hire with mentor support from civil servants.

This isn’t our only success with employers in Sheffield, we have been engaging with Sheffield City Council and Engie who are highly invested in care leavers completing their construction skills programme ‘Building Block,’ and so are giving Project Apollo priority slots and preferential treatment where appropriate. The Building Block offers CSCS card training, work experience and jobs.

We have also been lucky enough to visit the House of Commons with one of the young people who is signed up to receive support via Project Apollo. The House of Commons visit was a launch for National Social Impact Bonds, of which three are running and Project Apollo is one of these.


How you can help

Our charity is dedicated to helping Sheffield's young people to reach their full potential and achieve the best out of life, whatever their starting point. To help us to do more to support young people and communities we need your help. Just remember, every penny you donate will make a difference.