Posted on: 27 October 2020

CNWL has teamed up with the Drive Forward Foundation (DFF) to develop a range of internship opportunities within the NHS for young people leaving care. The Trust will begin with a pilot in Hillingdon and expand the scheme to its other boroughs.  

Research shows that care leavers have more barriers in accessing education and training

  • 12% of care leavers participate in higher education as compared to over 40% of their peers (NNECL, 2019).
  • Care leavers are also five times more likely to be cautioned or convicted and about 37% of people in young offender institutions have experience in local authority care (Prison Reform Trust ,2017).
  • Almost 50% of children in care suffer from a mental health disorder, often related to the trauma and neglect they experienced (Barnardos, 2017)


Meera Mistry, Associate Director of Partnerships at CNWL and a care leaver herself, said

“This scheme is very close to my heart. As someone who has experienced care, I know how important it is to have opportunities like these to help care leavers get into work, find a supportive workplace, have the same options open to them as everyone else and break down barriers to help them on the journey to become whoever they want to be.

“CNWL has played a significant part in my journey and I want others to have the same opportunities. I know that care leavers have so much to offer the NHS; a diverse range of skills and talent; and we can offer them the best possible start in their working life and lots of experience.”

DFF is a registered charity who worked with the Civil Service to implement a similar scheme.

Miranda Reilly, Strategic Partnerships Manager at DFF said:

“It has been such a pleasure to work with the team at CNWL. I did not imagine - when I got in touch with Meera this Summer - that before the end of the year we would be launching the care leaver internship scheme, with the view to expansion next year, and especially in the current climate. The team at CNWL NHS have been nothing but supportive of the scheme and their enthusiasm has filled me with optimism for the young person who will join their team.”

A Care Leaver is a young person (aged 16 to 25) who has been under the care of the Local Authority ‘in foster or residential care, or in other arrangements outside their immediate or extended family before the age of 18’.