If you’re a care experienced apprentice, you could be entitled to extra support during your apprenticeship. Someone is care experienced if they’re currently in care or have been in care at any time in their life.
Apprenticeships care leavers’ bursary
If you started your apprenticeship before 1 August 2023, you could be eligible for a £1,000 bursary. If you started your apprenticeship on or after 1 August 2023, you could be eligible for a £3,000 bursary.
To receive the care leavers’ bursary, you must be:
- under 25 when you started your apprenticeship
- either an eligible child, a relevant child or a former relevant child
You’re an ‘eligible child’ if you:
- are 16 or 17 years old
- have been looked after by a UK local authority or health and social care trust for a period of at least 13 weeks since the age of 14
- are still being looked after by a UK local authority or health and social care trust
You’re a ‘relevant child’ if you:
- are 16 or 17 years old
- left care within the UK after your 16th birthday
- were an eligible child before leaving care
Former relevant child
You’re a ‘former relevant child’ if you’re under the age of 25 and were either an eligible or a relevant child before turning 18.
Children’s rights organisation Coram Voice has guidance that can help you understand your leaving care status. You could also talk to your social worker or local authority adviser for advice about your leaving care status.
How do I claim the care leavers’ bursary?
Your training provider will need to claim the bursary for you. If you’re eligible, you should talk to your training provider about claiming this. You won’t have to give them details about your care experience.
Your training provider should also ask if you’ll let them share your care leaver status with your employer. You don’t have to share your status, but your employer can receive additional funding to help support you if you do.
When will I receive the bursary?
If you’re eligible for the £1,000 bursary, you should get this around three months after starting your apprenticeship. Your training provider receives your bursary after you’ve been an apprentice for 60 days and passes this on to you within 30 days.
If you’re eligible for the £3,000 bursary, you’ll get this in instalments. Your training provider receives your bursary in three £1,000 instalments and passes these on to you. You’ll get:
- £1,000 around three months after starting your apprenticeship
- £1,000 around six months after starting your apprenticeship
- £1,000 within 12 months of starting your apprenticeship
You can only receive the care leavers’ bursary once. Claiming this bursary won’t disqualify you from getting other support. You can’t claim this if you’ve finished your apprenticeship.
If you haven’t received a bursary payment from your training provider, you should talk to them about this.
What if I’m not eligible for the care leavers’ bursary?
You may still be entitled to support from a local authority, such as a grant to help you access education, work and training. Contact the local council where you were in care to find out what support is available to you. You can also talk to your training provider or employer about getting support.
Can I claim benefits as an apprentice?
As an apprentice, you’re entitled to benefits depending on your circumstances and how much you earn. Your benefits won’t be affected by any financial support you claim as an apprentice either, as long as your total savings are less than £6,000. You can learn more in the care leaver covenant’s support for care leavers on apprenticeships or in employment factsheet.
You’re also entitled to minimum rates of pay as an apprentice. You can read more in about apprentices.
Am I entitled to other support?
Local authorities have a legal duty to support care leavers until the age of 25. You may be able may be able to get support with your:
- travel expenses
- work clothes
- documentation costs for your job, for example a passport
You can find out more in the care leaver covenant’s support from local authorities and central government factsheet.
Are you getting the support you need?
If you’re not getting the help you need or are eligible for, talk to your training provider or employer. They’re supposed to support apprentices and make sure you know how to raise any issues, concerns, or complaints you may have.
You can also get support from Care X, which is a network for care experienced apprentices. Care X members support each other academically, socially, and emotionally through their apprenticeship. If you’re care experienced, you can sign up to Care X.