Launch of new programme promises to support the future of care leavers with access to healthcare careers

Left to right: Philip Mills, I-CAN Project Manager, José Magalhães, Head of Research and Knowledge Exchange Development at the University of Roehampton, and Christele Elkhoury, Recruitment Officer at the University of Roehampton

The University of Roehampton hosted an event on 15th May to introduce the new Initiating and Supporting Care Leavers into Apprenticeships in Nursing (I-CAN) programme, which aims to support young people who have lived in care to pursue a healthcare career.

Guests attended the launch at Wandsworth Civic Suite to listen to a panel discussion featuring stakeholders from across Health and Social Care, the University of Roehampton, and local government.

The discussion focused on striking statistics on progression to higher education from those who have experienced care. Data from the Department for Education shows that between 2021 and 2022, just 14% of these young people progress onto higher education due to concerns around study costs, the lack of information on application processes and overall lower entry qualifications.

The I-CAN programme – funded by the South West London Integrated Care Board – aims to engage 18-29-year-old care-leavers to overcome these barriers by supporting their future with promising career prospects in the health sector.

The event brought together practitioners who work with care-leavers, local employers within healthcare and care-leavers themselves to find out more about the programme.

Professor Richard Keogh, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and External Engagement at the University of Roehampton says, ‘This new initiative aims to pioneer an innovative solution to help address workforce shortages in the South West London health and care system. By providing tailored support and resources, we aim to bridge the gap for care-experienced young people, empowering them to pursue rewarding careers in this sector. This group traditionally lacks access to the academic experience, networks and guidance that facilitates access to higher-skilled professions. We want to support their aspirations, whilst focusing on the needs of the South West London health and care system, and wider community.’

The programme is open to care-leavers aged 18-29. All learners will undergo an 8-week training programme, which will offer a broad understanding of the wider health sector and the functional skills required to deliver quality care to the community, while simultaneously working to enhance their employability skills. Recognising that the financial pressures faced by care leavers are a massive obstacle to progression into higher education, I-CAN will help cover expenses and time dedicated to the programme (up to £2,000).

I-CAN will also promote direct engagement with potential employers in the sector, and support learners in pursuing different pathways into a healthcare career, including through the Foundation Degree (FdSc) Nursing Associate programme at the University of Roehampton.

Phillip Mills, (I-CAN) Project Manager, University of Roehampton, comments, “We recognise that prospective participants may have concerns regarding the financing of this course. We will support them to cover travel expenses within London to attend sessions and for the time dedicated to the I-CAN programme. We want to remove as many barriers as possible to ensure that this training is as accessible as possible. It’s a fantastic opportunity, and we urge care leavers and those working with this group to get involved.”

Find out more about the I-CAN Programme and how to get involved

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Posted 16/05/24

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