Care-experienced students showcase their talents

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Pioneering new scheme supports students through college 

14th January 2020 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Care experienced students taking part in a new service aimed at improving their opportunities met with Scotland’s first minister this week.

The students from Glasgow’s three colleges and West College Scotland opened up to Nicola Sturgeon about their personal experiences, as she backed an Action for Children project aimed at improving outcomes for care-experienced young people attending college.

Action for Children joined forces with Glasgow Colleges Regional Board (GCRB) and West College Scotland to offer the partnership service, the Stay programme, providing practical and emotional help to care-experienced students to help them succeed in college and beyond.

In Scotland, 93% of school leavers progressed to positive destinations in 2017/18, compared to 76% of children in care that year and 69% of children in care for part of the year.  

The launch of the initiative comes as the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) launched its National Ambition for Care Experienced Students which calls for colleges and universities to ensure there is no difference in outcomes for care experienced students by 2030.

Nicola Sturgeon said: “Young people with care experience often have more barriers to overcome than their peers but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have the same ambitions and achieve the same goals. 

 “Initiatives like the new STAY service are vital to ensure every young person in Scotland, regardless of their background, has access to the same experiences and education and, ultimately, the same chance to live a happy, fulfilled and successful life. 

 “It was a pleasure to meet the young people who are already benefitting from STAY and their support workers who are providing not only practical but emotional help too, the service is clearly already making a big difference.”

Paul Carberry, Action for Children Director for Scotland, added: “In order to support these young people to make the most of their potential, talent and learning opportunities, we are working in partnership with the colleges to deliver the STAY service.

 “From our experience, someone being there for you when you are struggling to cope, can make all the difference.  A simple act like a knock at their door, a text message, or just being available for a chat can be so effective.

 “I am really looking forward to STAY becoming an integral part of the student support provision, the success of the project will be care experienced students fulfilling their potential in college.”

Courage Eregbu studies accountancy at City of Glasgow College and is a budding musician. He is one of the first students to benefit from Action for Children’s Stay programme.

“I feel that the Stay project is really important. Life became more difficult for me when I left care and that might be the same for other students in similar situations - that’s when you need the moral support.”