What can I do to support care-experienced young people through the COVID-19 crisis?

First of all, we’re so happy to see you reading this blog. It shows that you care and this care is invaluable to the young people working with Drive Forward and our partners. 

Not having a job right now means that my life is stuck and I can’t progress. I have skills, qualifications and work ethic, but all of it is being wasted and it’s causing a lot of low self-worth and esteem.” – Joy, 20 

We all want to continue supporting our young people. We want to help them through this crisis and empower them to make plans for the future and continue their career journey at a later time. But we cannot do it all on our own. We need your help. The young people need your help. 

In these challenging times it is more important than ever to stick together and create positive change. So, here are some suggestions on how you can have a real impact, from the comfort of your home. 

Please send all your ideas and contributions to miranda@driveforwardfoundation.org  

Foster self-esteem, motivation and skills

Our mission is to enable care-experienced young people to achieve their full potential through sustainable employment and a career of their own choice. 

The young people that we work with have ambitions to pursue long and successful careers in their chosen fields, from law, to finance, to hospitality, to the creative industries and digital communications. They inspire us every day with their passions, motivation and work ethic. However, the current world climate means that many have been left feeling anxious about their future employment prospects. Their college courses have been suspended, they have lost their jobs, and prospective job offers have been put on hold. 

As an organisation, we have been lucky to benefit from the expertise, skills and knowledge of the many volunteers, professional mentors and corporate partners who have supported our young people. We are keen to continue this momentum and adapt to a new virtual way of working, supporting and thriving.  

CV writing and interview prep 

Video chats are a great way to support a young person writing a CV that lets them shine or help them practice and build their interview skills. We have lots of useful resources from CV checklists to different interview style templates and are happy to share them with you. Download here

Add a spin to your usual mock interview by asking the young person to ‘dress for success’ and treat it as a real interview 😉

Share your WFH tips and tricks 

Many of the young people we support will have to adapt to working remotely just like yourself. They may be in employment, doing a college course or be in the middle of an internship. Whatever their situation, as an experienced professional you can help them keep a healthy work-life balance, stay motivated and be productive when working from home, especially when they have children or family members to look after. 

Career opportunity for care leavers with the Drive Forward Foundation Host a virtual Career or Industry Insight Day 

Just because they’re sitting at home doesn’t mean that our young people don’t have big plans and great ambitions for their future. They’re curious and eager to learn more about all kinds of professions, industries and career paths. You can help them discover the ins and outs of your own industry by, for example: 

  • Hosting a webinar (e.g. using zoom) either by yourself or someone from your company could join you; 
  • Recording a power point presentation and offering 20 min 1-2-1 conversations for additional questions; 
  • Hosting a Q&A session where young people can ask you about the sector you work in and how to best start a career within it.

Or, you could contribute to Drive Forward’s website and write a blog post about your own career trajectory, the industries you’ve experience in, and your top tips for young people going into a career of their own. 

Help Young People with Drive Forward as part of your commitement to CSR Host remote work placements 

Due to the Coronavirus crisis most of our partners have, understandably, postponed work placements, internships and jobs for young people. This means, that many of them will miss out on some valuable skills building weeks in a working environment this year. So, now it’s up to you to help them stay on track and continue their learning experience by: 

  • Providing virtual training e.g. on the basics of Excel or writing professional emails, but also learning a new coding language or using a particular database; 
  • Virtual mentoring: help an individual prepare to get started in their career by providing specific information, but also setting tasks, or going through real-life case studies 
  • Teach individuals how to create and deliver effective presentations, how to behave in professional meetings, negotiation skills, or go through conflict resolution scenarios in the work place etc. 

Are you up for a challenge? Think about what the journey for an intern in your offices would look like and try to creatively mirror their experience in a virtual space 😉 Get your team involved and invite a young person to sit in (and maybe contribute) in a virtual meeting.

Here’s our Remote Work Placement Guide to help you get started! Get in touch with Miranda to set up your remote work placement.

Building a community to combat loneliness 

“I worry that most of us care leavers have been forgotten about, we are so vulnerable during this time. The support systems we use on a regular basis are no longer available. This is a time of loneliness for most of us.” – Joy, 20 

The majority of young people we work with live on their own in a flat or in supported accommodation. Loneliness therefore, more than ever, is a concern. Together, we can combat loneliness with our colleagues, staff, young people, partners and family. We are all in this collectively and working as one, we will get through this. As a community, as a business, as a partnership and as someone who cares. No matter the extent of your contribution, knowing that you are keeping those who we support in mind can make a big difference. 

Somerset House Day Trip with Drive Forward“Thank you so much I was freaking out thinking no one cared. I’m so grateful you messaging me shows you thought about me in these hard times I really do appreciate no matter the outcome.” – Paige, 19, lost her job at a cinema as a result of COVID-10 crisis 

At Drive Forward, we would like to uphold our community, even if that is virtually. Creativity is something that with our usual hectic schedules can often be forgotten about. But now is the time to be creative on how we combat loneliness and isolation for ourselves, our communities and the most vulnerable in our society. 

Weekly activities and tips 

In a first step, we want our young people to know that we care. Whilst our Employment Consultants are providing the immediate support and advice individuals need to be safe, the rest of us can help them stay healthy and motivated. 

Good reads & great shows 

This is the perfect time to get back into that book you started reading 2 years ago, or to finally binge all seven seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (am I showing my age right now? 😉).  

  • Share your personal book recommendations with young people and host a virtual book club to talk about it (this could be anything from practical books, to motivational and life coaching books, to romantic novels, adventures and crime series… what’s your fav?);   
  • Fantasy, comics, home improvement… introduce others to a new genre they are unfamiliar with; 
  • What Radio stations do you like to listen to and on which device? Do you switch between stations over the course of a day? 
  • Podcasts are everywhere!!! What’s your go-to podcast and why would you recommend it? What app is it available on?  
  • What’s your fav “binge-able” series on Netflix? Or the best comfort ever-green movie you would recommend? Is your skin hard enough to test its appeal for young people 😉? 

Share your favourite books, shows and films with us on social media and invite people to join some light-hearted discussions (Or dead serious when it comes to your favourite episode of GoT, we understand!) 

Share your tips & how to guides on our blog 

There’s a lot going on in the world right now and for some people what they see, hear and read can be overwhelming. Some of our young people have chosen to write about their experiences in the light of the current crisis, providing others with useful tips, much needed hope, and a message that they’re not alone. Have a look: Mia on recovery in isolationReece on social distancing 

Join them in sharing your experience, recommendations and tips on living, working and taking care of yourself in the current climate. Maybe you’ve plenty of experience working remotely, or maybe you had to figure things out (any blogs or videos you can recommend?), share it with the community! 

Write a blog post or create a video on, for example: 

  • Adapting to remote working: how to set up your home office, managing your wellbeing whilst working from home, how do you keep moving and eating healthy etc. 
  • Can you introduce us to a hobby of yours that we would still be able to pursue? You could host a virtual drawing class, or maybe you can introduce someone to music, or share your poetry? 
  • What do you do to stay motivated? Meditation, exercise, virtual yoga classes… share your tips on how young people can learn to manage their time and energy better. 
  • Are you into cooking? Share your cheap, easy and nutritious meals with our young people! Remember though, some stuff is hard to come by at the moment, so keep it simple 😉  
  • Swap recipes or have a cook-off competition! 
  • Miss going to the spa? Us too! So why not share your fav home-made scrubs, facemasks and other feel-good goodies 😊  

Be creative, get in touch, and make a young person smile! 

Please send all your ideas and contributions to miranda@driveforwardfoundation.org  

COVID-19 emergency support fund 

For us, where do we turn when we have no money or no money for bills, organizations are exhausted and have little to nothing to be able to give.” – Tanisha, 21 

Many care-experienced young people have lost their jobs or student bursaries with no recourse to advance payments from public funds, no savings in the bank and no family to support them financially or emotionally.  

We have set up a fund to support individuals we work with who are in financial hardship. 

How far £20 can get a young person: 

  • A week’s worth of food shopping; 
  • A monthly broadband bill; 
  • 1-2 month’s phone bill; 
  • Stocking up on paracetamol (because you never know); 
  • Some 2 weeks’ worth of gas and electricity. 

Because it’s important to show we care and hope that even through the small gesture of paying for one month’s worth of bills, it means that I can help make a difference to that being one less worry on someone’s mind during these hard (maybe mentally challenging) and unusual times. – Georgia, Corporate Responsibility Lead at Tideway London 

“For me, working from home is saving me money. Just thinking of how much I would usually spend on travel, work lunches and the odd after-work drink in a week! And now this money can go to a good cause and help somebody else stay well.” – Pat, IT Consultant 

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