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How to find a job after leaving care: Tips for young people to get on the career ladder

Finding your first job is a big step. And if you’re a care leaver, the transition is even greater. But it’s also an exciting time and one where you can make independent decisions to achieve your true potential. Want to find out more? Discover how to find a job after leaving care, and what practical steps you can take to start your journey on the career ladder.

1. Seek support

Nobody can do it all on their own. And as a care leaver, you won’t have to. If you’re leaving care in England, your Personal Adviser is there to support you from the age of 16, helping you to make decisions that are right for you, about work, education, and more. They will help you put together and follow a Pathway Plan which sets out your goals for independent living and the support you need to pursue them.

This is really important: if you have ambitions or things you want to achieve, the Pathway Plan will help you put those plans into action, thinking about where you’ll live, what training you might need, how to find a job and the financial support that will make it all possible.

The goal is to make sure that as a care leaver, you have all the same opportunities open to you as anyone else. So if you’d like to pursue training or education, there will be a solution and your Personal Advisor will help you to find it.

You’ll have access to your Personal Adviser until you’re 21 if you’re in work, or 25 if you’re still in full-time education.

2. Create your CV

Your CV is a list of all your achievements. It’s a document that employers usually ask for, to find out more about you and what you can offer. If you’re wondering how to find a job that you’ll love, one of the key ways to make an impression on potential employers is to create a good CV.

Writing a CV can be hard if you haven’t worked before, or you’ve only had a couple of part-time jobs. But don’t worry, there are ways to big yourself up, even without much experience!

A personal statement at the top of your CV is a great way to introduce yourself, summing up who you are, what you’re looking for and why employers should choose you. (If you’re responding to a job advert, make sure to include some of the things they’re looking for here).

You should include any qualifications you have, such as GCSEs and your grades.

And you can also list your particular skills, the things you’re really good at, and any hobbies.

There are lots of tips and templates that you can find online to make your CV look professional and compelling.

3. Get some experience

It’s a chicken and egg situation that’s really common when trying to get on the career ladder. To get the job you want, you need work experience. But how can you get the experience if nobody will give you a job?

Luckily, there are opportunities out there – it’s just a question of knowing what to look for, and where to look. Here’s how to find a job after leaving care, that will give you the skills and experience you need to climb the career ladder.

The Care Leaver Covenant is a national programme dedicated to providing opportunities for care leavers. Lots of companies (including us here at Churchill) are signed up to its Care Leaver Friendly Employer charter, which is a promise to support care leavers and help them thrive in the workplace. So, that’s one really good place to look for care leaver work and education opportunities.

In addition, there are schemes such as apprenticeships and work placements that are designed to give you the practical work experience you need for a wide range of careers. You can check the Government’s Apprenticeships website to find out more.

4. Keep learning

Learning doesn’t have to be the same as school. There are many different ways to gain new skills that will help you in the world of work. But the more you learn, the more likely you are to find a job after leaving care, one that you’re good at and enjoy.

Here are some types of learning that could help you:

  • Academic courses like A Levels. These let you take the subjects you’re interested in further. You could go on to get a related job afterwards, or go to university
  • Vocational courses like T Levels or a BTech. These are designed to give you the specific skills you need for the workplace
  • Apprenticeships, traineeships, supported internships, and school leaver schemes: ways to learn on the job while getting paid at the same time
  • University. Once you’ve completed a further education qualification, you could go to university to study your subject in-depth. It’s worth knowing that a £2,000 bursary is available to care leavers in England who attend university.

5. Claim everything you’re entitled to

A big part of getting on the career ladder is finding the right job. But it’s also important to think about some of the practical things you’ll need to do when you enter the world of work after leaving care. Where will you live? What subjects should you study? Is there any support that you’re entitled to?

Your Personal Adviser will be there to help, but here are some things it’s good to know:

  • If you’re a care leaver aged 16-18, you’re entitled to financial support for education, training, and employment, as well as practical things like accommodation, clothes, and food.
  • Thinking of staying in full-time education after the age of 16 and wondering if you can afford it? There’s help available: care leavers in full-time education are entitled to a bursary of £1,200, or £2,000 if you are going to university.
  • Your local authority will also provide you with a grant of £2,000 to help you set up home when you leave care, which can go towards buying furniture and other household items.

Jobs for care leavers at Churchill

Here at Churchill, we empower young people from all backgrounds to gain independence. We have signed the Care Leavers Covenant, which means that we strive to provide opportunities for care leavers like you to find a job and develop your career.

With a wide range of job opportunities available, we will offer you full training and support to allow you to progress towards your career goals.