How we support your education and training as a qualifying care leaver.

We want you to succeed in your education, training and employment.  

Between the ages of 16 and 25 we hope you'll either be in education, training or work. Universal Credit may provide an income if you're in education or training up to the age of 21. If you're not in education, training or work Universal Credit will help you while you work out your future plans.

You'll be able to access advice and guidance from the team about your options at any age. Including:

If you're not sure what to do with your future we can help you access these projects for young people up to the age of 25 who are not in education, employment or training:

Our Where next? section may also help you with options if you're between 14 and 19 years old.

Bursaries in college and sixth form for qualifying care leavers

There's no guaranteed bursary for qualifying care leavers. But you can still apply to your learning provider to see if you can get help with things like:

  • your transport to get you to college or sixth form
  • equipment you need
  • trips you need to go on
  • uniform or suitable clothing

Support if you're a qualifying care leaver in education over the age of 19

You might be able to apply for a bursary if you:

  • are over 19
  • are studying a level 3 course
  • have needed an ‘Advanced Learner Loan’ to help with the fees

You can apply for this bursary from the same place you got your Advanced Learner Loan.

Course fees for qualifying care leavers

Level 2 courses

If you're aged 16 to 18 it's unlikely there will be course fees if you are at college or sixth form.

If you're over 18 some courses may be free and some may have fees. We may be able to help with Level 2 course fees but we'll talk your plans through with you.

Level 3 courses

For Level 3 courses with fees you will should apply for an L3 Advanced Learner Loan. We can show you how to do this and will explain how you pay this back in the future when you're earning enough money to afford it.

If you go on to complete a course at university you do not have to pay back the Level 3 loan.

We may be able to help with the fees and will consider your plans if you're interested in other learning options like:

  • a part time course
  • an online course
  • other training courses

If you're claiming Universal Credit you may be able to get help through the Jobcentre Flexible Support Fund.

Find out more from Turn2Us charity's website.

University for qualifying care leavers

We will give you a £2,000 bursary over the duration of your course. This will be £500 per year. We'll use your pathway plan to agree with you how you spend this over the academic year.

This bursary will be £3,000 if you're studying in London.

If you're studying through the Open University we'll work out the equivalent bursary for you based on the credits you're studying for.

Support during university holidays (vacation) for qualifying care leavers

We can help you with up to £100 per week for vacation costs when you cannot stay in your student accommodation. This is for a maximum of 12 weeks per year.

IT equipment (computer or laptop) for qualifying care leavers

If you're in education or learning for more than 12 hours per week we'll try and help you with IT equipment up to the value of £300. This will be your device and you'll need to take care of the maintenance and repair for it.

Help with childcare when studying as a qualifying care leaver

If you're at college you could get help towards your childcare costs. This will normally be through a bursary you apply for. If you cannot do this we'll look at your situation and what you need to help you take part in your learning.

If you're at university you can apply for a childcare grant as part of your student finance application.

Pathways to Employment Scheme with Dorset Council as a qualifying care leaver

We have a scheme that can offer you employment at Dorset Council through:

  • an apprenticeship
  • a traineeship
  • work experience

Apprenticeships for qualifying care leavers

Qualifying care leavers are not eligible for the £1,000 bursary for care leavers when they've been on an apprenticeship for more than 4 months.

If you're doing an apprenticeship and you're paid less than the national living wage we will help you with a bursary of £200 per month. We'll also help with your travel costs up to £100 per month for the first year of your training.

Traineeships for qualifying care leavers

If you study through a traineeship you may be able to get a bursary depending on your age. This bursary could help with the cost of getting to your traineeship and work clothes. We'll look at what else you may need to complete your course.

Work experience and voluntary work for qualifying care leavers 

If you are participating in work experience or voluntary work for more than 12 hours per week we can give you an incentive payment of up to £30 per week to help towards your additional costs such as: travel, lunches and suitable clothing  

Work clothes and equipment for qualifying care leavers 

We will assess what you need for work. You can access a one off grant of up to £100. 

Travel to work for qualifying care leavers 

If you're claiming Universal Credit you can get help with travelling to interviews from the Jobcentre's Flexible Support Fund. This fund might also be able to help you with travelling for your first month while you wait for your first pay day.  If you cannot access this we'll check with you what you need. 

Help with childcare for qualifying care leavers while working 

If you're claiming Universal Credit and working you can apply to the Jobcentre Flexible Support Fund for help paying for childcare. If you're working and cannot get help with childcare costs we'll look at your money with you and see if there's anything we can do to help.

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