Hire more young people from foster care and children’s homes, minister urges businesses

Part of my ministerial portfolio is the employment prospects of children in the care system. Those who have followed my work in the past will know that the welfare of looked after kids has been of particular interest to me, so it is with enthusiasm that I support Care Day today by urging employers to do their best to take on care leavers as apprentices. Here’s the full article from the Evening Standard.

“Businesses are being urged by Families Minister Kit Malthouse to hire more young people who grew up in foster care and children’s homes.

To mark Care Day in the UK today, the senior Conservative and former deputy mayor of London is reminding businesses they can claim up to £1,000 from the Government for taking on an apprentice from such a background.

He said: “Each year over 12,000 teenagers in England make the leap to independent living from care without the family support many of us have enjoyed. It’s up to all of us to help care leavers get the right opportunities and businesses play a vital role in this.”

The Government’s See Potential programme offers employers advice and support on hiring the youngsters, ranging from short-term traineeships to  buddying schemes.

Mr Malthouse urged business leaders “to recognise we’re all parents to care leavers” and back the See Potential campaign.

He added: “This not only provides the crucial support needed to find a job but can also add real value to their workforce.”

Shereen Russell, 32, who was fostered at 13 and now works for Transport for London, said: “Care can be a lonely place. Trying to get a job can cause anxiety and nervousness because maybe they haven’t got experience approaching people.

“Even things like CV-writing and how to go about a job can be hard. If you haven’t had much experience or anyone encouraging that, such as a personal adviser or social worker, actually going for a job could be difficult.”

Ms Russell went to university and was able to stay in care until 24.

She began an internship with the Department for Work and Pensions for care leavers and was later hired by TfL. She said: “There can be a stigma attached but there’s lots of us that go on to do amazing things.”