New schemes offer young people the best life chances

Two ground-breaking schemes to support young people who have experienced care have been launched.

The 'Family Firm' has been developed with care-experienced young people themselves to provide placements and training so that they can have better opportunities to access further education, training or employment.

The 'Family Firm' concept brings together the council, voluntary organisations and the private sector. These agencies all work with TNT (Today Not Tomorrow), which is a group of care-experienced young people, to identify better opportunities and secure placements.

In the development of the programme, four young people secured placements with the council, NL Leisure, Culture NL and Mears, the council's housing repairs partner. This programme will now rapidly expand after the council agreed a report setting out the benefits to young people.

The council also approved a virtual school for care-experienced young people. The school will support children in their academic attainment, and will also support families of children who are looked after at home or are in kinship care.

The virtual school will be headed up by a leader who will have oversight of education planning, tracking and monitoring of progress and management of specialist educational support for the children and their families.

Councillor Frank McNally, convener of education for North Lanarkshire, said: "We think these will be truly life-changing developments for young people who have experience of care.

"The 'Family Firm' approach brings all the relevant agencies and employers together to do all we can to provide support. We know that young people who have experience of care, through no fault of their own, are most at risk of not entering the world of work. That's why it's essential that we work directly with these young people to support them, and employers, to offer them a chance to work.

"The virtual school brings together best practice, guidance and support in one place and gives these young people continuity and support which many of them haven't had.

"We're determined to improve the life chances of young people who have experienced care and I firmly believe these developments will do just that."

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