Charlie joined the Leaving Care project at the beginning of April this year and right at the start of lockdown. Having just finished school, 16-year-old Charlie was initially looking for something to keep him busy over the summer holidays.
After our first meeting with Charlie and his social worker, Charlie showed that he has high expectations of himself; he is very motivated, likes to keep himself busy and has clear life goals. His aims from being on the project were very simple: to be work ready. Being in lockdown has been extremely tough for all young people and the Leaving Care team have worked hard to keep care experienced young people motivated and engaged throughout the pandemic. We have held CV workshops, mock interviews, careers talks and virtual work tours, the delivery of which have all been supported by our business members including AllTruck, Everards and Thermo Fisher Scientific.
I discussed with Charlie his ambitions and interests and we very quickly set up an online session to support Charlie with structuring and writing a CV. The following week, we set up a mock interview with a business member from AllTruck, Wayne Haynes. Wayne was really impressed with Charlie’s confidence and ability to articulate himself. They spoke about Charlie’s ambition to go into the army and how hard he was training to get there. He had a clear pathway and was also completing his application for the army over the summer. The mock interview process made Charlie realise his strengths and weaknesses in preparing for the world of work and Wayne’s feedback that there were often responses he needed to work on and experiences to expand on to highlight his skills and qualities.
Soon after, we found an excellent opportunity to send Charlie on a work placement to Bradgate Park. To prepare for this, he attended an information session from Steve Palethorpe, Director at Bradgate Park, who made Charlie aware of the various tasks he would be undertaking, including dry stonewalling, gardening and car park duties. Once a date was set for his placement, Charlie needed to have the right equipment and the right clothes; to be organised with travel and lunches and good time keeping skills to make sure he was there on time for his 8am start.
Working with Charlie has shown how we are able to support care experienced young people with getting work ready. Charlie has accessed many of our employability sessions and worked with business members to gain first hard work experience. He has also shown that with a bit of determination and hard work, results and progress can be achieved quickly. I am very proud of what he has achieved in a very short time here at Leicestershire Cares and look forward to continuing supporting him.
Are you a care leaver looking for work or work experience, or a business willing to support care leavers with work experience or employment? If so, please contact Sonal on the Leaving Care Project at Sonal@leicestershirecares.co.uk