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Education and jobs for cared for children

There is plenty of support on offer for young people who've been in care looking to further their education or career. Find out which option suits you best:

University and higher education

Many care leavers go on to achieve amazing things in higher education - so can you.

Financial support to go to university

We'll provide you with financial support to go to university. This includes:

  • Paying for basic halls of residence or accommodation all year, not just during term time
  • Giving you a weekly allowance

Entry requirements and grades for going to university

Entry requirements can vary. Some universities will want you to get a certain number of UCAS points, others will want you to have studied a specific subject beforehand. For instance, to study medicine, most universities will require you to have studied relevant subjects, such as chemistry and biology.

Although entry requirements are there for a reason, don't be put off straight away. If you don't have the right grades or aren't studying the right subjects, contact the college or university. There might be some flexibility, or they might be able to suggest a course that is similar but has different entry requirements.

If you need specific grades for a course, and you really want to study it but your grades don’t quite make it, you could also think about applying next year and retaking your exams. Have a chat to your personal advisor about your options. These might include other study or training options like apprenticeships which may still take you on to university later on.

Applying for university as a care leaver

Everyone applies to university through UCAS. Please consider ticking the box on your UCAS application to let the university or college you're applying to know you've been in care.

This is confidential and won't be used against you. It does, however, let the right person at the university or college know so they can tell you what additional support you're entitled to. Many universities offer schemes, bursaries and support just for care leavers - you don't have to accept the support you're entitled to, however, it's still useful to know what exactly is available before turning it down.

Information and advice for going to university

Here are some organisations who provide information and advice about university:

  • Propel - a charity helping care leavers attend university
  • GOV.UK higher education - information on all aspects of finding and applying for university
  • UCAS - how to apply for university, when to apply and what you'll need 


Apprenticeships allow you to work while completing a nationally accredited qualification. Apprentices are expected to combine employment with external assessments and exams. You'll receive a wage while completing the apprenticeship.

Rochdale Borough Council offer apprenticeships up to degree level.

What do I need to apply?

Most apprenticeships require the following:

  • GCSE Grade C in English and maths
  • Able to work 30-37 hours a week

How do I apply for an apprenticeship?

Find out how to apply for an apprenticeship -

With the council: as a care leaver you can receive information about apprenticeships at the council before they're advertised to the public. Speak to your personal advisor for information about this, including how to apply.

In Rochdale borough: find apprenticeship opportunities in the borough .

Traineeships with the council

A traineeship is a ‘stepping stone’ programme to prepare young people, aged 16-24, for employment and apprenticeships. The aim is to help care leavers get more work experience, employability skills or improved grades.

  • It lasts for up to 6 months.
  • You'll combine gaining qualifications with extensive work experience.
  • Working hours will vary with a minimum of about 16 hours per week.
  • You'll get support for travel costs during the programme.
  • It won't affect any benefits you receive.
  • While you don't receive payment during the traineeship, you're guaranteed a work placement within the council which will enhance your CV and could lead to further opportunities.

What do I need to apply?

You need to have achieved grade D or E in GCSE English and maths.

How do I apply for a traineeship?

As a care leaver you can receive information about traineeships with the council before they're advertised to the public. Speak to your personal advisor for information about this, including how to apply.

Jobs with Training programme

For some young people, the apprenticeship or traineeship programmes may not be appropriate. The Jobs with Training programme gives you part-time employment with appropriate training for all academic levels. The programme can be organised to suit the kind of work you're interested in and qualifications will be at the correct level for your needs.

The jobs may be for a fixed period of time and will be flexible around hours to suit you. There are a wide variety of jobs to choose from.

What do I need to apply?

To apply for the Jobs with Training programme, you:

  • Must be able to work part-time and attend appropriate training.
  • Don't need any qualifications for this programme

How do I apply for the Jobs with Training programme?

Speak to your personal advisor for information on how to apply for Jobs with Training programme.

Armed Forces

If you're aged 16 or 17 and interested in joining the Armed Forces, you could consider completing an armed forces college course. Talk to Positive Steps for further advice.

Be aware that:

  • Your parent or person with parental responsibility will need to give consent for you to enter the armed forces before you turn 18.
  • We won't consent to you engaging in front line service (in battle) with any armed force as it could result in your death or serious injury.

Once you're 18, you no longer need consent and can make your own decision. If you then join the armed forces and are living with a foster carer, you may be entitled to a ‘Staying Put’ arrangement for the first 3 months of the basic training. Find out more about Staying Put.


0300 303 0440

Phone: Monday-Friday 8.30am-4.30pm.

Cared For Children's Team
Floor 3, Fashion Corner
57-59 Drake Street
Rochdale OL16 1XL