A brand new app to inspire and help young adult care leavers to find learning and work has been launched today by the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) to mark National Care Leavers’ Week, which takes place from 21st to 28th of October.
Statistics show that in 2013-13, over a third (41 per cent) of 19-year-old care leavers were not in education, employment or training (NEET) compared to only 15 per cent of their age peers in 2013-14. The Inspire Me! App provides a platform for other young people who are now living independently and learning or working to share their positive stories.
Nicola Aylward, Head of Learning for Young People at NIACE, said, “In his party conference speech two weeks ago, the Prime Minister said that children and young people growing up in care are ‘almost guaranteed to live in poverty.’ He also pointed out that 84 per cent leave school without five good GCSEs, 70 per cent of prostitutes have been in care and care leavers are four times more likely to commit suicide than anyone else.
“While outcomes for young people leaving care are shockingly poor, the Prime Minister’s pledge to turn the situation around is commendable. With the right support in place and through sheer determination, care leavers can and do overcome adversity. Our Inspire Me! App is a significant step towards supporting these young people. It’s a platform for care leavers’ voices and will inspire other young people in similar situations.”
Users can upload their own stories and build up a bank of their favourites for future reference and inspiration. The app is available for free download on all devices from the app store and iTunes. It can also be accessed online at http://inspire-me-live.herokuapp.com/.
Heidi Street, who was one of the young adult care leavers involved in developing the app said: “Care leavers have provided their stories and experiences…to help inspire, advise and mentor young people to make decisions that are right for them.”
While Roxanne Leighton added: “If I was going back to college and I was in that same position where I didn’t know what I wanted to do…. I could go on the app and read other people’s stories. It could help me through who I can gain support from, what to actually do and to hear someone else’s experience of what they’ve been through.”