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St Christopher’s launches care leaver employability programme

St Christopher’s Isle of Man has launched Support Into Employment, a new scheme supporting care leavers to learn workplace skills and find jobs they enjoy and can sustain.

We know from experience that pushing young people into the world of work too early can dent their confidence and make them more likely to quit and disengage from employment opportunities. So, instead of forcing care leavers to do something they are not ready for, the team focus on preparing them for employment.

Starting on 4 February, the team have been providing employability skills sessions to Isle of Man care leavers and getting to know their interests and career plans. Then, through partnerships they have built with local businesses and government departments, they set up shadowing days and work experience so that young people can try out different types of work. These opportunities can lead to more formal work placements, volunteering, apprenticeships, or even paid work.

What makes this scheme different is that the team also support the employers so that they are more understanding of the issues care leavers face. They show employers how to help the young person if they are feeling overwhelmed by any setbacks or challenges so that they can learn, develop and thrive at work. This means the work placement is less likely to break down because there is an advocate working with both sides to make it a success.

Lots of work has gone on behind the scenes to make Support Into Employment happen. For the last few months, a multi-agency working group of St Christopher’s, the Jobcentre and the Benefits Office helped to give a clearer picture of the barriers facing care leavers and identify where changes could be made so that their journey to employment was more empathic. Through building such positive relationships, St Christopher’s is now able to negotiate with the Jobcentre on an individual basis for each young person and put in place structures that will help them to thrive.

The programme is helping St Christopher’s to achieve its strategic aim of lifelong learning and thriving for young people, particularly when they are leaving care and working towards full independence.

'The Support Into Employment team have done so impressive much work to change perceptions of care leavers, which has made a huge practical different to the support we can now provide. I am really looking forward to hearing from young people about their experiences of work and to getting more island employers on-board with what we want to achieve.'
Jonathan Whalley, Chief Executive

If you would like to learn more about the scheme or sign up your organisation, please get in touch with us today.

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