A PROJECT aiming to help care leavers get work experience has helped 66 young people in its first 12 months.

Nationally, young people leaving care have significantly poorer outcomes than their peers – a fact which the Making a Difference project aims to counter.

The idea is led by the Targeted Youth Support team, who work with vulnerable young people aged 13-19 who are not in education, employment or training.

Cllr Frances Nicholson, the county council’s cabinet member for children and families, said: “In Somerset, over 50% of care leavers are not in education, employment or training (NEET).

“The Making a Difference project helps get young people ready for work by building confidence, improving their application and interview skills, and providing short work experience placements in sectors they’re interested in with employers who are supportive and understand their needs.

“Since the project started 27 young people have completed work experience placements and 45 have been supported to develop their employability skills.

“As a result, eight young people have got a job, two have started college, one has gained an apprenticeship placement and almost half have (or are on track) to achieve a certificate for an ASDAN Experience of Work Award.”