Leicester firms open doors to care leavers

Friday, 14th June, 2013
Four Leicester businesses have thrown open their doors to young people leaving care in a pioneering project called Employ Me, to raise ambitions for their future working lives. The project is being run by the Leicestershire Cares project Flying Fish and was commissioned by The Y specifically to help some of the most disadvantaged care leavers and young offenders whom they currently work with.

In the coming year a total of 24 Leicester teenagers will take part, spending time with managers and role model employees at British Gas, Ford & Slater, Marriott and Nylacast.

Parminder Basra, Flying Fish project co-ordinator, said: “As well as preparing the young people for working life, the aim is for them to raise their own expectations of what they can achieve. Care leavers and young offenders face difficult obstacles and tough odds when trying to find work, especially with so much youth unemployment.

“Credit goes to our four employers for recognising the challenges these young people face and equipping them with skills, experience and confidence to get a flying start.”

Six young people have been on the debut outing this week [June 11-13], learning about employability skills including reliability, communication, teamwork, time management, problem solving and a positive attitude to work. They will also be helped to improve their CVs and have a mock job interview.

Among the people the young people are meeting is Shannon Morley, who successfully completed a placement with Flying Fish which helped her get an apprenticeship with Leicester City Council. Shannon said: “I am happy to come along to speak to the young people to help them understand the benefits of work. It is such a worthwhile project if it helps change their lives for the better as it did mine.”

Michelle Bolton King of Ford & Slater said: “We are very excited about getting involved and Ford & Slater is very committed to employing young people and investing in young people as they are our future.”

Ian Mallabone, HR Manager at Nylacast, said: “As a Leicester company with a strong focus on supporting the local community and more importantly the local people of Leicestershire, Nylacast is honoured to have the great opportunity to welcome individuals on the Employ Me scheme.”

Employ Me was commissioned by The Y as part of Y-POD, a three year Big Lottery funded project which offers intensive support to young offenders and care leavers with the most complex issues in order to improve their access to housing, health, education, training and employment.

Joe Cox, Y-POD Manager said: “This bespoke service will provide real benefit for this marginalized group of young people and will help them develop the confidence, skills, knowledge and awareness to access the employment market. We welcome other employers to get involved.”

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