The Elevate Care Leavers Programme

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Amey delivers a full range of highways maintenance services and facilities management to Kent County Council (KCC) and is currently experiencing a staff resource issue in the region. With few young people entering the industry and many employees close to retirement age, Kent Highways are looking at more inclusive ways to recruit new members to the team.

Elevate is a collaborative initiative involving Amey, Social Enterprise Kent and KCC, which aims to enhance future career prospects for care leavers. Having the highest number of care leavers in the UK, KCC has this high on the Council’s priority list. The programme also aligns well with KCC’s Local Offer to Care Leavers.

When a young person leaves care at 18, KCC appoints a personal Adviser (“PA”) until they are 25; during the Elevate Care Leavers Programme, Amey work closely with the PAs who communicate the programme to care leavers and support them through the programme.

At the end of the development sessions there are opportunities:

  • to apply for long-term positions with participating companies (in this case Amey);
  • complete apprenticeship qualifications; or
  • gain work experience


Care Leavers are a unique group of young people with many unrecognised skills and qualities. Employment can be life transforming. The programme aims to raise their confidence, teach basic life skills and provide accredited training in a secure supportive environment, with the aim of providing positive outcomes for all.

Almost half of people in custody in the UK are care experienced. If industries can provide employment and support to a small number of people, the difference could be staggering within local communities.

The PAs reported that the level of attendance was unprecedented. Some participants dropped out at the beginning, but those who didn’t, despite personal problems along the way, saw the programme through to the end.

With help from the Amey Resource Team, arrangements were made for the Apprenticeship Assessment Centre to take place locally at the end of the programme. Participants were able to go straight into an interview at a venue local to them and with people, with whom they felt most comfortable.

Out of the six who attended the interviews, three were offered apprenticeships with Amey, officially starting their apprenticeship in September 2023.

Future Opportunities

Future Opportunities for the Elevate Programme are exciting. Other counties across the UK have similar priorities and this programme can be rolled out to any industry/supply chain.

Although an Amey initiative, the programme has been handed over to Social Enterprise Kent, who will look to work with other organisations to obtain funding from different industries across Kent. Amey will continue to support the programme and possible future employment opportunities.  

With regards to future collaborations, Amey is working with supply chain to support funding and career opportunities for care leavers. Collaborating with supply chain and key partners can provide wider choices to care leavers and greater career prospects. 

Next steps

The Elevate team are working with Young Lives Foundation to ensure the correct mentorship programme is in place for care leavers and work mentors.

Future plans are in place to review and improve the programme for 2024.



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