Success Stories

From Care to Career – Shabnam & Wunderman Thompson

“I was in Care due to family problems and was taken into care by my local authority. Everyone’s experience of being in care is so different – if I could summarise it to you in one sentence it’s sometimes a safe haven for some young people who go into a home and share the space with a loving caring family or it can be the most traumatic experience having to share a house with 12 to 20 or sometimes even more young people who are going through their hardest stage of life – where pain, anger, lost, abandonment feelings are visibly everywhere. Every care experienced young persons experience is different therefore it’s hard to describe what’s it like being in care.”

Mentoring, it’s more than just Volunteering

Drive Forward’s Mentoring Programme has enabled countless care-experienced young people to sustain their employment, progress in their careers, and find success for themselves since 2016. We’ve seen that engaging in a professional mentoring relationship is often crucial to a young person (mentee) who wants to take charge of their professional as well as personal development.

For #NationalMentoringDay, we’re sharing Nahom’s journey with his mentor Joe Welton, Account Manager at Amazon Web Services.

The Key to Change: Work Placements

Care-experienced young people are one of the most vulnerable and overlooked groups in our society. Research has shown that educational attainment, levels of health and well-being and employment prospects are all significantly lower, whilst instances of homelessness or poor mental health are much higher. Despite youth unemployment rates having reduced, there is still an estimated 40% of young care-experienced people who are not in employment, education, or training.

Together with our partners, we are trying to change that by providing ring-fenced employment opportunities to enable these young people to move from care into a career of their own choice.

The Holistic Approach to Care

The Independent Review of Children’s Social Care report stated 5 missions. 1 of which was that “no young person should leave care without at least two loving relationships by 2027.”

Read how at Drive Forward, we focus on holistic care of our care-experienced young people offering everything from employment support, early intervention, and professional mentoring to counselling.

Between our staff, partners, mentors and supporters, we have always ensured stable and loving relationships surround our young people to enable them to thrive.

Boosting Careers: Latifah & the Civil Service Internship

“When I met Latifah, she was completing her degree whilst raising her daughter. Although her passion was and has always been theatre and performance, she was excited to hear about the Civil Service. Latifah told me how it was important for her as a care leaver to be represented in government and have access to these competitive opportunities that are difficult to get through mainstream recruitment.” – Heaven Teshome, Latifah’s Careers Manager

Creating Career Opportunities: The Civil Service

The Civil Service Care Leaver Internship Scheme provides ring-fenced 12-month paid employment opportunities for care leavers aged 18-30 across the country. With no formal qualifications required, the scheme is a prime example of potential-based recruitment.

This extraordinary initiative has come a long way since the first Drive Forward interns joined the Department for Culture, Media and Sports in 2016. The Civil Service Care Leaver Internship scheme has grown to offer some 500 ring-fenced opportunities to care-experienced young people across the UK annually. With the recent publication of the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care calling for at least 3,500 new jobs or apprenticeships, we need more schemes like this! Read more about how you can start a similar scheme in your company!

Taking Advantage of the Advantage Programme

Care leavers are 38% more likely to drop out of university than their peers, and those who make it through the other end often find themselves standing at a cliffs edge with no support network to rely on as they try to navigate life after university. The Office for National Statistics estimates that almost one-third of British graduates move back in with their parents after graduation. Care-experienced graduates don’t have that option; they need to find the means to support themselves when it’s time to leave student halls. That’s where our Advantage Programme comes in; equipping them with the networks, skills, and confidence needed to compete on today’s graduate job market, our programme aims to enable those young people transition from university into a career of their own choice.

Challenging perceptions of learning disabilities and learning difficulties

Care-experienced young people go through a lot when it comes to navigating the ins and outs of each foster care home they find themselves in.
They have to work out how to sustain meaningful relationships and find a way into further education or employment, all whilst carrying trauma. To top this off, some of the young people working with Drive Forward may also deal with learning difficulties and/or learning disabilities.

Read more to learn more about the common learning challenges our young people have to balance, tips on how to manage conditions and how Drive Forward tailor’s our approach to put the needs and aspirations of our young people at the centre of our work.

Modupe’s Story. Joining the Civil Service

Thinking back to your early 20s, did you know what you wanted to do with your life? For young people coming out of care, the years between their 18th and 25th birthday are pivotal. Before their local authority closes their case forever, these young people have to make sure that they are financially, emotionally, and practically stable. That means having a secure place to live, sufficient income, and a support network. However, actually making those decisions that will impact one’s life in the long-term is not an easy task.

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