Leicestershire Cares creates opportunities that enable the business sector to understand community needs, contribute to the growth of inclusive, safe communities and to support and inspire children and young people in their transition to the workplace.

This ethos lead to our Esmee Fairbairn funded Voices project to create Promise to Care: A pledge for local businesses to provide care-experienced young people with access to the support and opportunities they need to progress in education, employment and their wider lives.

Promise to Care reflects building relationships between care-experienced young people and local businesses, the importance of sharing and transferring knowledge, the lived experiences between the two, and the power of working together to co-produce programmes that benefit both businesses and care-experienced young people.

What we have learnt

Approaching employers to encourage them to recruit a care-experienced young person

Small and local is good

Look at smaller companies in the areas that the young person is interested in working to create opportunities. Face-to-face contact creates improved connections. Provide the young person with CV and cover letter support to reflect the job role and their desire to work in this field.

Big companies and their CSR: linking into UN Sustainable Development Goals and the ethical consumer

Approach larger employers to discuss their CSR targets and how they could attract diverse individuals whilst improving the outlook of care-experienced young people. Employing and supporting a care-experienced young person fits into the UN Sustainable Development Goals as an act of sustainability.

  • Consider the challenges that care-experienced young people can face while highlighting resilience
  • Partnering together promotes achievements in their community as well as social responsibility outcomes
  • Discuss the apprenticeship levy and additional apprenticeship bursary of £1000 to an employer when recruiting a care leaver into an apprenticeship
  • Care-experienced young people may lack experience or education, counteract this by offering the employer trial shifts where they can showcase other skills.
  • Celebrate good news stories and successes and forward case studies to employers.
  • Local companies who sign up to support care-experienced young people will receive a digital badge on their website and receive support and training. Opportunities exist to offer young people mock interviews, work experiences, work tours, mentoring, and more.

What support could you offer an employer?

  • Support for preparing the young person for employment through mock interviews, meeting employer’s expectations (which should be tailored to that company), and preparations for an ID, bank account, access to suitable clothing, support with travel, and where necessary sector-based training.
  • Support for pre-screening applicants where volumes of opportunities are offered.
  • Support for training of what a care-experienced young person is and what provision may be needed.
  • Offering employers a point of contact so the young person is supported during their first 6-12 months.
  • Hosting networking events and training days for businesses to support their care-experienced employees.
  • Providing communications support through newsletters, websites, and social media.

What support is needed for the care-experienced young person?

  • Provide tailored advice for an application process, supporting skills and confidence required to apply and start work.
  • Support with completing applications due to digital poverty. This might mean asking the employer to skip processes due to the exceptional circumstances around Covid-19.
  • Highlighting the work expectations of employers including time keeping, how to present themselves, travelling to work, facing difficulties, probation periods, and if a disclosure letter is required and how to complete this.
  • Interview stage support with mock interviews, understanding the company culture.
  • Corporate parenting support: sending good luck texts and “a time to get up” phone call on the morning of interviews or starting work.
  • Starting work support: agree an ongoing in-work support plan to ensure the young person can discuss any concerns or issues at work with you.
  • Liaise with the employer where necessary to resolve any issues or concerns.
  • Introduce a range of careers, industries, and opportunities to start one’s own business. We run work tours with a range of companies and industries so young people can get a feel for the work environment, as well as Speedy Speakers, where speakers present their industry/career in accessible sessions.
  • Locating a business mentor who has similar work experiences that can support a young person.
  • We offer advocacy and participation work for young people when they are not at work.

Linking care-experienced young people with local businesses

Our work with care-experienced young people

For more information about our work with care-experienced young people, please contact Jacob Brown. This post originally appeared at Leicestershire Cares.