Our mission is to create brighter futures for children and young people. We do this by providing fostering, residential and support services where children and young people can feel safe and cared for. We support them to make positive relationships which give them the confidence to succeed.
Support Into Employment
Supporting care leavers into work
Being a care leaver isn’t easy. Teenagers as young as 16 have to find somewhere to live, keep up with college and work, and look after themselves, often without the support of a family behind them if things go wrong. They are more likely to struggle with poor mental health and low self-esteem. Young people tell us that having all this responsibility can be overwhelming and make it hard to navigate the world of work.
Our Support Into Employment team work with care leavers and employers on the Isle of Man to give them opportunity to learn workplace skills together and create work experience placements where the resilience of care experienced young people is recognised.
How do the team help?
Leaving care is not an isolated event; it is a process that we prepare young people for as best as we can. Support Into Employment helps care leavers navigate the complicated world of job hunting and benefits, whilst building their self-confidence and helping them decide what they would like to do. Working alongside our supported accommodation homes and Aftercare service, the team get to know care leavers and their interests so they can find the right jobs for them.
'Jobs and stuff is hard. But you can help keep me motivated. If I say I am at college to be a mechanic get me some work experience, or find someone to tell me about it, or even just take me to something about cards. Keep me motivated.'
The team work in a variety of ways to offer individualised support to each young person.
Professionals can all be guilty of encouraging young people to do things before they are quite ready. Entering the workplace too soon can increase the likelihood of the placement breaking down and knock young people’s confidence, sometimes irreparably.
Instead, our team provide employability skills sessions to care leavers so they can understand what is expected of them at work. Learning these new skills enables them to recognise the value they can bring to a job and boosts their self-esteem.
Once the young person is confident enough to trial the world of work, our team identify ways they can find out about the roles they are interested in. The team have strong relationships with local businesses and Government departments, who then offer work experience and shadowing days to care leavers. Opportunities like this can open up more options for young people, from work placements to regular volunteering to full-time or part-time work.
St Christopher’s has collaborated with the Jobcentre and the Benefits Office to increase professionals’ understanding of the challenges care leavers face. Together, the agencies have made changes so that there are less barriers for care leavers and we can now negotiate arrangements for young people on an individual basis. This partnership shows young people that we ALL want them to succeed and have a bright future.
If young people are finding the workplace overwhelming, they may not be confident enough to share their experiences. So our team are there for them to confide in, and we work closely with employers to keep them updated and suggest ways they can offer additional support. On occasions when placements do need to end, we work with the employer and young person to make sure both sides understand the decision.
Because of this placements are less likely to end negatively: if young people have support from both St Christopher’s and their employer to stay resilient in the face of challenges, they are more likely to thrive in their job and acknowledge everything they can achieve in the future.
My key worker helped me create a CV. It showed me everything I am good at and things I hadn't thought of. It was good because it wasn't just him being nice, they were real examples. Everyone should have a CV even if you don't want a job yet - I like looking at mine and seeing what I have achieved.
If you would like to learn more about Support Into Employment, our services on the Isle of Man or the other ways we support care leavers, please get in touch with us today.