382016 companies are helping kids who grew up in care get a start on career ladder

Companies are helping kids who grew up in care get a start on career ladder

DESPITE the move towards diversity, equity and inclusion, one group is often overlooked by companies hiring for jobs.

Young people who grow up in care are three times less likely to be in education, employment or training by the time they reach 19 than their peers.

Autumn McElroy is one of Amazon and charity Barnardo’s programme’s first graduates


Autumn McElroy is one of Amazon and charity Barnardo’s programme’s first graduatesCredit: © Copyright: JOHN MILLARD 2022. 07731816527 [email protected].

Lack of opportunity means they are also a third more likely to be made homeless than to go to university.

Only six per cent go on to further education, compared to more than a third of other schooleavers.

Shockingly, such people earn on average £6,000 less per year than those who have not.

Currently there are around 108,000 children in care across the UK, including in foster homes.

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Some have been moved up to 30 times, making it hard for them to continue their studies and get qualifications to help them into work.

To help ensure all youngsters get equal access to jobs, a number of firms are setting up specialist support for care leavers.

Amazon and charity Barnardo’s have launched a partnership to support 500 vulnerable young people into work.

The JOBS (Journey of Becoming Successful) programme has seen 83 per cent of participants who finish the course secure full-time work or a return to education.

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Amazon funds ten weeks of pre-employment training for candidates, while the course also focuses on mental and physical health.

Amazon’s UK country manager John Boumphrey said: “This initiative is unique in the level of support it provides and I am imm­ensely proud of the young people themselves and of our team.”

Autumn McElroy is one of the programme’s first graduates.

The 18-year-old is now an operations associate at the firm’s centre in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear.

She said: “Growing up in foster care meant I moved around a lot. I never felt like I belonged.”

“The JOBS programme has really helped give me a focus in life.

“We had sessions around abuse, alcohol, health and nutrition, and more practical site trainings around hazards and safety.

“Now I have a job, it focuses my mind on something better, and I feel like I am on a good path.”

Apply at barnardos-ets.org.uk/centre/the-jobs-project.

JOHN LEWIS has established the Building Happier Futures programme with charities Action For Children and Who Cares? Scotland.

It offers support and apprenticeships for care leavers.

Sharon White, chair of the John Lewis Partnership, said: “We want to become the employer of choice for young people leaving the care system.”

See johnlewis.com/content/happier-futures.

Billionaire PHONES4U businessman John Caudwell has set up charity Caudwell Youth offering up to two years’ mentoring for care leavers. Find out more at caudwell youth.org.


DID you go to a state school?

Then grab yourself a free ticket for the UK’s largest jobs mixer from the 93% Club.

Taking place in London on April 18, The Social Mobility Factory aims to improve the chances of state school youngsters – who make up 93% of pupils – landing top jobs by giving them the chance to meet leading professionals.

Sophie Pender, CEO of The 93% Club, said: “The Social Mobility Factory helps forge the connections required to break into and thrive in the workplace.”

You can apply for a ticket at 93percent.app/smf23/apply.


COULD you pass the UK’s toughest job assessment test?

Around two thirds of UK employers use some form of online test before inviting candidates to interview.

Success is key to showcasing your potential as, according to Glassdoor, a corporate job will attract 250 applicants but fewer than six will be called for an interview.

Now aptitude test provider AssessmentDay has collated the four trickiest questions into one punishing trial that 90 per cent of people will fail.

Oliver Savill, director, AssessmentDay, said: “Job applicants often wonder if the other candidates might be smarter than them.

“Answering these questions correctly will put you in the exclusive top ten per cent club.”

Try your luck at assessmentday.co.uk/resources/hardest-all.

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WITH Ramadan beginning this week, many UK firms will be supporting Muslim staff observing the daytime fasts.

Kawsar Zaman, of No5 Barristers in London, said: “Small changes can ensure Muslim employees can celebrate their faith without it impacting their work.”

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Kawsar Zaman has advice on how UK firms can support Muslim staff observing Ramadan


Kawsar Zaman has advice on how UK firms can support Muslim staff observing RamadanCredit: Supplied

Here is his advice.

  • As a religious group, Muslims are protected under the Equality Act 2010. Employers must ensure they do not discriminate against those observing Ramadan.
  • Employees who are participating may need some reasonable adjustments to support them in fasting or to ensure time for prayers. Companies should explore reasonable accommodation of these needs.
  • Speak with colleagues and understand their needs. By doing this, you will be able to ensure religious obligations for employees are respected and productivity doesn’t drop.
  • Seek expert advice. There are a variety of resources online to help employers navigate all religious events. Try the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s guides.
  • Not everyone will require change during Ramadan, as this will depend on the work and environment in question.

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