1st November 2021
The Stepladder of Achievement programme gives teenagers the chance to earn up to £1,500 in a savings account by completing an online course in financial and life skills, ready for when they leave care aged 18.
It aims to help combat the disadvantage faced by young people in care. 40% of 19-year-olds who have been in care are not in education, employment or training compared to 13% of the general population. Young people learn about money and having a bank account and mortgages. The step on how to manage your money is Open University accredited.
“I can’t even describe how good the programme was. If I hadn’t done it, I genuinely don’t know where I would be. The whole aim is to make you more employable and confident in your abilities,” says one 19-year-old from West Cumbria who left care last year.
She now has a job and added: “It was all good information that I wouldn’t have got elsewhere. When you turn 18, a lot of the support you have had disappears. The section on ‘making my money work’ was very helpful for me, moving to living independently. Growing up is generally scary but if you don’t have that family support system behind you it is even more difficult.”
The Stepladder of Achievement Programme is run by the charity The Share Foundation, and young people receive a sum of money for each step of the course they complete, finishing with the savings in an account. Mentoring is provided by Cumbria Youth Alliance.
The Share Foundation received £10,000 from the Cumberland Building Society Community Fund, granted over two years. So far, more than 50 young people have taken part and another 51 are waiting to register as funding becomes available for them.