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Preparing care leavers for the world of work

Care leavers have to juggle lots of adult responsibilities at a very young age, often without support from their family. They may have missed out on key chunks of schooling, so do not always have the qualifications or confidence to aspire to bright futures.

St Christopher’s Aftercare team on the Isle of Man support care leavers to find safe homes, catch up on their education and look for jobs. Zoe is just one of the young people they have helped.

Zoe’s story

Zoe was struggling to make ends meet on her zero hours contract at a pub, where she also rented a room at a discounted rate. She had no stability because of her employment situation, so she was unable to plan for the future. She tried to find work elsewhere but didn’t have the GCSE grades to apply for the types of jobs she wanted, and there was no way she could afford to support herself through additional education at this stage.

To earn some extra money on the side, Zoe started working at a pizza shop. But she was then let go from the pub as there were not enough shifts to go around, which meant she had to find a new place to live too.

Zoe reluctantly signed on to claim Jobseeker’s Allowance and was forced to accept food bank support, which was desperately upsetting for her. The job at the pizza shop ended and she still was not able to cover living costs in her new flat.

That’s when Zoe contacted Aftercare to see if they could help with her job search. The team helped to re-write her CV, research the role and practice for online tests that were part of the application for a job at a bank – and she secured an interview!

To dispel Zoe’s nerves about the interview, the team spent weeks practicing typical questions and doing mock interviews until she felt confident enough for the big day. Then a week later, she received a call to say they wanted to hire her.

The bank manager said they normally would not offer interviews to someone without the required qualifications, but Zoe had good test scores and impressive work experience on her CV so they wanted to give her a chance. They were really impressed with her interview and, even though she was nervous, she came across as mature and confident, and answering all their questions with fluidity and good examples.

Without help from Aftercare, Zoe may have struggled to secure regular employment and could have ended up in debt or homeless. The team supported her to settle into the role and she is loving her job.

The next step

Through seeing how their work has positively impacted young people like Zoe, St Christopher’s is extending their work to include a new Support Into Employment service, matching care leavers with work placements and volunteering opportunities. The charity has also committed to making sure 5% of the workforce is made up of care experienced people by 2023 as part of their organisational strategy.

Find out more about Support Into Employment below and please get in touch with us if you would like to create brighter futures for young people on the Isle of Man.

Support Into Employment