The future's bright for Cardiff's young care leavers and looked after children

Looked after children and young people leaving council care in Cardiff now have a greater chance of securing the career they want, thanks to the Bright Start traineeship scheme. 

Created by Cardiff Council, Bright Start gives support and provides training and work placement opportunities across a range of businesses and organisations in Cardiff, including a variety of roles in the local authority. 

Morgan Stewart, age 19, is one young person to benefit from the scheme, securing a placement as a trainee at Cardiff International White Water three months ago. 

Commenting on his experience, Morgan said: "Bright Start got me the work at Cardiff International White Water. They've helped me a lot, giving me things like an Iff Card to help me get to work and money for food. This placement is getting me qualifications and experience. 

"Before coming to white water, I never thought about a career involving outdoor activities, but a week into it I was loving it. I hope that 10 years from now I'll be here at Cardiff International White Water, working as a raft guide."  

Bright Start gives each young person a fully trained mentor, to give them guidance and to help them access advice services. This includes the council's Into Work Services, offering a range of careers support. Expenses are covered by the scheme, helping to meet the costs of work clothes and to provide lunch whilst in a placement. 

The young people also have the opportunity to attend a programme of creative workshops, led by local artists and entrepreneurs, helping them to become a part of Cardiff's thriving creative sector - a sector which employs 15,000 people in Cardiff and contributes over £1 billion to the local economy. 

Cabinet Member for Children and Families, Cllr Graham Hinchey, said: "One of my stated priorities in our Capital Ambition is to make sure that looked after children and young people leaving our care have the opportunities to succeed, and Bright Start is a clear example of our commitment in making sure that happens. 

"Cardiff should be a great city for all our children to grow up in. That's why, as a council, we are committed to investing in aspiration and life chances for our children and young people. Bright Start is an excellent way of making best use of the resources we have, ensuring we are maximising investment in the future of our children and young people." 

Bright Start, an evolution of the council's Looked After Children's Traineeship Scheme created in 2014, is also working with the Cardiff Commitment, creating better links between education and business in Cardiff. 

Cardiff Council has a range of partners helping to deliver Bright Start, including the Department for Work and Pensions, ACT Training, Full Circle Education, Llamau and Base support.