In the past year, we worked with 138 young care leavers aged 16-25, providing one to one job coaching support. 91 moved into education, employment and training. Our success is based on building supportive relationships with young people. 

In order to do so, we have come to understand the complex barriers that hold young care leavers back when looking for employment, education or training:

•    Young people we work with might have no qualification because their school was disrupted by going into care or moving homes.

•    Some have suffered from poor mental health, caused by the emotional implication or their upbringing which led them to going into care.

•    Others have low self-confidence and emotional resilience due to trauma, being in care and lack of positive relationships in their lives.

•    Most have poor independent living skills and employability skills due to missing out on learning from parents and guardians.

•    There is a lack of financial support from parents and family, and having to live independently when not knowing how to do so successfully (often leading to money problems and dept)

How we work with young care leavers

Despite the barriers facing young care leavers, the ambition and goals of these young people are achievable with the right support. The young people we work with have potential, skills and high aims. We are there every step of the way to help them find the right opportunities and break down the barriers they face.

Our success is due to our model of building strong and supportive relationships, which includes:

Flexibility

We meet young people in places which are convenient for them: their homes, cafes, in our offices etc. We are also flexible in the type of communication that suits them and their personality: whether text, phone, social media, email or face to face.

Understanding

Due to the barriers young care leavers face, making and keeping appointments can be particularly difficult. We are patient and forgiving if appointments need to be rearranged again and again, and understand we need to go at the young person’s pace, even if progress is slow.

Strong inter-agency work

We build working relationships with both social workers and personal advisors, foster carers, and also other agencies such as training providers, apprenticeship agencies, employers, Youth Offending Team, in order to create a support network around each young person.

A holistic approach

We build a trusting relationship with each young person, which means they can come to us with other problems and issues as well as for support for getting them in education, employment or training. We look at all aspects of their wellbeing in order to help them progress and reach their goals.

Knowledge of provision

We not only have a thorough knowledge of mainstream education and employment, but also alternative provision and other charities and services that can support care leavers in all aspects of their lives.

Recognising the achievements of young people in care

Children in care and care leavers are often under-represented when it comes to acknowledging their achievements. All of the young people we've worked with have a strong desire to learn and achieve their potential. Our work is focused on enabling them to do their best and we will continue to support them by recognising the barriers they have to overcome.

You can come celebrate with us the achievements of young people in care and care leavers at the Exceptional People In Care (EPIC) Awards, organised by the Bristol City Council, happening later in the year. 

Read more about young careleavers' stories