All the universities and colleges in Edinburgh have combined to help those who have been in care have increased opportunities in education.

The HUB for SUCCESS will launch tomorrow and will try to buck the trend of those leaving care who are doing so with few qualifications and leaving school at a young age. Research has uncovered that 73% of those with experience of care leave school at 16 or younger compared with 27% of all school leavers. Only 6% of those who have been in care go to university compared with 41% of all school leavers, and those who do go to university or college are likely to drop out.

The HUB for SUCCESS (Support for University and College for Care Experienced in South East Scotland) operates from The City of Edinburgh Council Customer Hub on the Royal Mile. There they provide individual information about education, accommodation and finance, both on a drop-in basis and also by making home or campus visits.

Already 28 young people with care experience have been helped with impartial, up to date advice to ensure that they stay the course. The Hub will also work with city schools to raise the expectations of children in care of all ages.

The Hub’s core partners are Edinburgh Napier University, the University of Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt University, Queen Margaret University, the Open University in Scotland, Edinburgh College, Newbattle Abbey College and City of Edinburgh Council, and the project has been developed in consultation with Who Cares? Scotland, The Prince’s Trust and surrounding local authorities with the aim of identifying people who would benefit from support and encouragement to fulfil their potential.

Dr Joe Morrow, the Lord Lyon King of Arms, who will host the launch event, chairs an advisory board with representatives from all partners and Edinburgh Napier University recruits. He also manages the Hub staff. He said: “The HUB for SUCCESS is an innovative partnership approach which celebrates and supports the potential and achievements of care experienced learners. The challenges many of them experience seem insurmountable. This work is about creating opportunities and freeing potential.”

Advisory board member Professor Andrea Nolan, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Edinburgh Napier University, said: “As a sector, we need to do more to help people from care experienced backgrounds into further and higher education, while they are at college and university and once they graduate.

“We can achieve much more through working together as corporate parents, and I am delighted that all Edinburgh’s universities and colleges along with the council have not just committed to do but are actively doing so.”

Hub manager Lorraine Moore said: “Our feedback suggests the one-to-one support we offer has been hugely valued, by our younger care experienced learners and especially by people who have been out of school for some time.

“The Hub will help develop support networks for students prior to starting their course, as well as offering an informal environment where they can bring their concerns as they go through university or college.”

Alison Dickie Vice-Convener of Education Children and Families

Cllr Alison Dickie, Vice Convener for Education, Children and Families at the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “The Hub’s success is a great example of education partners across the city coming together to improve the opportunities for our care experienced young people to get into university and college.

“As a Council we are determined to give them every opportunity to succeed in life and this project builds on the exciting work we are doing across the city to promote corporate parenting. We now have care experienced young people on our Champions Board and also employ two as participation officers who are reaching out to young people in Edinburgh.”

The initial costs of the project have been met by Edinburgh Napier, the University of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt, with the Scottish Children’s Lottery providing an additional £35,000 through its Chance to Study programme.

The Hub can be contacted via: