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University welcomes care leavers

6 July 2016

Confident Futures

Young people with a background in care have taken part in a summer school at the University, helping to give them a taste of life as a student.

Twenty participants took part in the two-day Confident Futures Summer School, organised in partnership with First Campus, which saw the students immerse themselves in university life.  During their time at the University, the students took part in a range of activities, from academic taster sessions to shopping for food and cooking their own meals in halls of residence.

The event is just one of a series of initiatives taking place, aimed at encouraging people from traditionally under-represented groups to go to university.  Care leavers are one of the most under-represented groups in higher education, with the latest figures indicating that only 6% of care leavers in Wales aged 19 were in full time higher education in 2013.

As part of the event, foster carers, social workers and education workers met with current students and staff to find out more about the additional support which the University offers.  This includes a dedicated member of staff who acts as a first point of contact for care leavers; a service which extends to Foster Carers and Social Workers/Personal Advisers. Support begins at the application stage and is there throughout a student’s time at Cardiff.

Students who have been in care are offered year-round university accommodation, together with additional support through a Care Leaver Bursary scheme. The scheme provides additional staggered financial support designed to assist with those extra costs associated with both starting and leaving university, including Graduation, travel and clothes for interviews.

In recognition of the support offered, the University’s work with care leavers was given exemplary status by the young people’s support charity Buttle UK in 2014.

Commenting on the summer school, Professor Patricia Price, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Student Experience & Academic Standards, said “Cardiff University is committed to ensuring any student with the ability to succeed is welcome, irrespective of background.  Making the transition to higher education is a big step for many young people, but those leaving care often face particular challenges”.

“The support which Cardiff University offers helps care leavers to overcome these obstacles, allowing them to fulfil their potential. I am proud of the University’s track record in this area, and I look forward to building on this in the future.”