NHS England will enlist ICBs to help bring 1,000 care leavers into NHS jobs, it has announced.
The plan will see 10 ICBs design a supportive framework to help adults leaving the social care system into internships or early-stage careers within the health service by 2025.
Its commitment to seeing 1,000 internships offered care experienced young people comes as part of its signing onto the Care Leaver Covenant: a Department for Education (DfE) funded programme intended to help 16-to-25-year-old care leavers into work.
NHS England signed the Covenant during National Care Leavers Week 2022, at the end of October.
According to Dr Navina Evans, Chief Workforce Officer, NHS England and Chief Executive, Health Education England, the approach will be developed in 10 ICBs – to be announced in December – before being expanded into all 42 by 2024.
She also suggested roles available could include care assistants and the medical doctor degree apprenticeship.
Dr Evans, who signed the Covenant, said: ‘I am delighted that we are signing up to the Care Leaver Covenant on behalf of all NHS organisations, as part of our commitment to provide support for the more than 10,000 young people who leave care in England every year.
‘Tackling health inequalities and the disparities that exist in our communities is at the heart of everything the NHS does, and working together with colleagues in government and local authorities, we look forward to supporting care-experienced people to build their confidence and access the best possible opportunities.’
Dr Evans’ blog on the Covenant can be read here.
Launched in 2018, the Care Leaver Covenant was developed from the Government’s Keep on Caring policy in 2016, with around 340 public and private organisations attached.
A number of NHS organisations have already signed onto the programme, including Birmingham Women’s & Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Sandwell & West Birmingham NHS Trust.