5. Education, employment and training

Your pathway plan and personal education plan should already have information about what your career ambitions are and there are a range of people who can help you to make sure that these are achievable.

You can access career advice from Positive Steps Oldham or the National Careers Service depending on your age. Usually Positive Steps offers advice and support up to your 20th birthday (or up to your 25th birthday if you have learning difficulties or a disability); otherwise you would contact the National Careers Service.

What are my options?

You can leave school on the last Friday in June as long as you are 16.

If you are 16 or 17, the Government advise that you must stay in some form of education or training until your 18th birthday (if you were born on or after 1 September 1997).

Your options are:

  • Full-time education – e.g. school or college
  • An apprenticeship or traineeship
  • Full time work or volunteering combined with part time education or training. If you are a worker aged between 16 and 17 you may be entitled to some time off work to gain further qualifications. 

Please contact your career adviser for help with what to do next.

Apprenticeships and funding

These rates are usually reviewed every October and as of October 2015 the rates are:

Apprentice*£3.30 per hour

*This rate is for apprentices aged 16 to 18 and those aged 19 or over who are in their first year. 

All other apprentices are entitled to the national minimum wage for their age:

Under 18 £3.87 per hour

18 – 21£5.30 per hour

21 and over £6.70 per hour

There are lots of websites you can use to find apprenticeships and jobs but if you’re interested in finding out more, you could start by looking at the Government’s apprenticeship website or Jobsearch.

Education, training and funding

There are lots of options for education and training within and around Oldham, whether you want to go to college or you would prefer to learn with a training provider, there will be something to suit you. Your social worker and your career adviser will help you to put your plans into action.

If you are a looked after child or a care leaver you will be entitled to the 16-19 bursary whilst you are leaning which means that you will receive some money to help you out.  This money will usually be paid on a weekly or termly basis by your college or training provider and it is linked to good attendance. In total the bursary can be anything up to £1,200 over a full year. 

If you are 19 plus you may be able to apply to the discretionary learner support fund. The After Care Team may be able to help out with money for essential items that are needed for your programme of study.

If you would like to study at university, there is further support available. You can apply for financial support from Student Finance but with your cooperation we will also assess your situation and provide additional financial support if needed (dependent on means testing).    

The After Care Team in Oldham will strive to support care leavers who want to stay in appropriate education or training until they are 25 to ensure that our young people can achieve their career ambitions.

If you are a care leaver over 21 and you have decided to return to education, please contact us before your 25th birthday if you would like us to assess your situation. 

Get Oldham working

At Oldham Council we want to provide our looked after children and care leavers with suitable opportunities for getting in to work. Our Employability Team are called ‘Get Oldham Working’ and you can register for regular job updates.

They are available for face to face meetings every week at Oldham Library on Tuesday afternoon and at the Jobcentre in Oldham every Wednesday afternoon. 

They have a wide range of local jobs but they also look after the recruitment for apprenticeships and traineeships within Oldham Council itself. If you show your commitment by working with them and applying for their vacancies, they will assess your skills and abilities and they will strive to prioritise your application as part of our commitment to helping you achieve the job that you want.

Support with claiming benefits

Sometimes it may be necessary to seek financial help from the Jobcentre. There are a number of different types of benefits depending on your personal circumstances.

You can also get up to date information and advice from Jobcentre Plus

National Insurance Number

You should receive a letter with your National Insurance Number on it just before you turn 16 years old. 

This is a really important piece of information so it is important to keep it safe. 

It’s unique to you and you will keep the same number all your life. It makes sure that the national insurance contributions and tax that you pay are properly recorded against your name so you will need this number when you start work or if you need to claim benefits. 

Call the National Insurance Numbers helpline if you didn’t get one on 0300 200 3502.