Jul 29, 2021

Together, we help young people drive forward

Josephate - from care to career
Josephate - from care to career

The past three months have been an exciting time for our team as well as the young people working with us. In the face of a continuously challenging jobs market, our Employment Consultants and Corporate Team are putting in the extra effort to find and create valuable opportunities for the young people working with us. 

Since the beginning of the year, 129 young people joined Drive Forward; 118 achieved tangible EET outcomes including 37 full-time jobs, 5 apprenticeships as well as 10 flexi and 13 part-time jobs. 25 young people have completed training courses including a Salesforce Business Skills Programme, an exciting film-making course with Kennington Film Studios, as well as coding and CSCS courses. Young people working with us further completed (or are currently enrolled in) some 30 internships, work placements, and work trials. 

Here’s a flavour of their stories. 

Kickstarting his career – Josephate 

Joesphate initially joined Drive Forward as a young person looking to find his feet in a career that he enjoys. Having only left care in early 2021, Joe immediately took initiative when he read about a job opportunity that came up within our team earlier this year. As the Corporate Opportunities Coordinator, Joe supports our team to identify and create work and training opportunities where care-experienced young people can live up to their full potential. We specifically developed this role to create an opportunity for a young person at risk of long-term unemployment as part of the government’s Kickstart scheme. Soon after Josephate started, we realised how lucky we were to have him on board.  

Having recently moved out of London, which means that his travel costs have increased massively. Thanks to your generous support, Josephate can continue to utilise his own lived experience to actively enable other young people to achieve their goals in education and employment.

  

Prepping for life after university – Lola 

Lola studies Accounting & Finance at Kingston University. With one more year to go, she is eager to get some quality work experience under her belt, before being pushed out into a volatile and competitive jobs market. Lucky for Lola, we recently launched a new programme, The Advantage programme, which we developed specifically for care-experienced undergraduate students to support their transition from university into a career. 

Lola heard about Drive Forward at university and joined the prorgamme in March this year. Motivated and eager to gain new experiences, Lola made sure to attend skills building workshops, 1-2-1 sessions with corporate volunteers, and apply for internships with our partner network. Off the back of an individual coaching session, our partners at Baringa Partners offered Lola a two-week placement within their finance team. Following on from that, she went on to complete another week with Lloyds Bank Auth and Fraud department. 

But what Lola really wanted was a proper summer internship that would allow her to gain real office experience whilst developing practical skills. Together with our partners at The Crown Estate, we weren’t only able to cater to her wishes of an 8-weeks long internship this summer, but we even got the opportunity registered with Kingston university, thus, allowing Lola to put a full 300 hours towards an entire module! The finance team at The Crown Estate made sure to tailor this opportunity to Lola’s and the university’s requirements; including specific learning outcomesoffering her to work at least 2 days a week in the office, providing lunch, and a London Living Wage salary. 

In addition, your support enabled us to cover Lola’s travel for the entirety of her internship!  

 

From care to... – Precious and Tionne

… the civil service 

For the past 6 years, we’ve been working closely with government departments to develop, implement, and improve the Civil Service Care Leaver Internship scheme. Offering opportunities for care-experienced young people across multiple departments, the scheme provides a fantastic career entry point. 

This is what Prescious realised when she first heard about the scheme. A single mum living in Lambeth, she was looking for more than just a job, but something that would allow her to progress and build a life for herself and her child. With the support of her Employment Consultant, Prescious nailed an internship with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, which she started earlier this year.  

With the pandemic still ongoing, Prescious started her role virtually. However, she didn’t have broadband in her house. As a care-experienced single mum, Precious had different priorities. Now, she needed a stable and fast internet connection in order to fulfil her responsibilities at work, but she didn’t have the money to afford the extra cost; not until she would receive her first pay check. 

Thankfully, your gift has enabled her still pay for broadband and start her career with the civil service. 

 

… an apprenticeship 

Having joined Drive Forward in the middle of the pandemic, the 22-years old Tionne also felt that the civil service opportunity offered a great chance of finally moving away from retail and starting out in a career that she would truly enjoy. She worked with her Employment Consultant to tailor her written application to the role, practiced job interview situation and questions with professional volunteers, and was eager to succeed. 

However, it was Tionne’s time to join the civil service. This little drawback didn’t discourage her to keep on pushing. She worked hard on finding other opportunities that fit her ambitions and expectations, put in the effort to apply, and finally landed on an apprenticeship in business administration with MCG construction. 

As you already know, transitioning from benefits into employment is like walking on a tightrope. You’re floating somewhere in the middle, with either end of financial stability being far away. But, thanks to you again, Tionne didn’t have to worry about falling off the rope. By providing her with the funds to afford her first month of travel, you helped her balance successfully to the other end! 

 

If you want to learn more about this and other initiatives please subscribe to our newsletter. 

 

Thank you for your ongoing support and believing in the potential of young people! 

Lola - from care into the civil service
Lola - from care into the civil service

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Mar 31, 2021

New Year, Old Challenges, More Successes

Starting successfully into 2021 - Florida
Starting successfully into 2021 - Florida

In memory of our founder

As some of you will be aware, our founder, Martha Wansbrough, passed away from cancer in January. Martha worked with disadvantaged young people for over 20 years, first in Russia and then the UK. She believed passionately in our mission at Drive Forward to enable care-experienced young people to achieve their full potential through sustainable and fulfilling employment. She put the young people we support at the heart of everything. Her dedication meant that she worked throughout her illness, right up the end - securing new funding, finding employment opportunities and ensuring our young people had the support they needed during the pandemic. 

We are grateful for the support we received from our community and will honour her memory by continuing to fight for and support care-experienced young people with the same passion and dedication as Martha. 

Driving Forward 

The past three months have seen a lot of reflection as well as innovation and creation. All the recent challenges have brought our team closer together, enabling us to innovate, improve, and in increase our impact in the future. 

For the young people working with us, the past year has been an extremely challenging time, where they had to acknowledge Covid’s combined impact of unemployment and social isolation. We have seen more of them taking advantage of our bespoke counselling service, enabling them to develop and practice effective coping strategies. 

Starting successful into the new year 

Most of the young people who had gained an internship with the Civil Service last year have now successfully started their roles across multiple government departments. In addition to providing ongoing 1-2-1 support through our Employment Consultants, Drive Forward has also developed a tailored training programme working with line-managers, young people, and corporate professionals. Young people are offered practical skills training around basic IT (Excel, Power Point...), workplace etiquette, communication and presentation, as well as the ins and outs of civil service working culture. Line-manager, on the other hand, are presented with the theoretical knowledge and practical skills in order to pursue a trauma-informed management approach. 

Kickstarting young careers 

In response to the stark rise of youth unemployment and the long-lasting impact of the pandemic on the jobs market, the government launched the Kickstart Scheme last year. The £2 billion initiative provides financial incentives to employers ready to offer quality 6-months placements for young people aged 16-24. 

So far, a total of 23 care-experienced young people working with drive Forward have been successful in gaining a placement. 

“I would have never been able to master how to prepare for an interview if it were not for DFF and in doing so, the confidence freed me of the nerves.” - Tom, 22, Camden 

On top of our efforts to support young people making the most of this opportunity to get back on track with their careers, we’ve been working closely with our partners across London councils as well as the corporate sector, encouraging them to sign up to the scheme. Understanding the multiple challenges care-experienced young people face and they exacerbating impact of the crisis, most of our partners are now topping up the government’s contributions to offer kickstart participants London Living wage. This enables even those young people living in expensive semi-independent accommodation to take up these opportunities. 

Florida’s Story 

Following a placement with our partners at Discover AI, Florida went on to complete a placement with our partners at Baringa, a London-based management consultancy. The experiences she made increased her confidence and gave her knowledge that supported her to obtain a post working as a Business and Transformation intern at the NHS working with CAHMS, which she is to start in April. 

Florida remembers her work placement at Baringa: 

“My experience at Baringa really will help me with the new role I have just been offered and makes me feel more excited and prepared.  Angel and Alice were so encouraging and hearing their story of how they got to where they are inspired me and means I don’t feel too scared to “jump in”. Going to NHS in a year-long internship now follows on and has shaped more about what I feel I can do with my future. I can be more confident after having the experience with Baringa. Overall, I realised I had a real interest in HR and they showed me different aspects of this that I never knew, the best things were working with Angel and being able to talk with her about how she managed to get where she was, also being able to talk to the team.  

They showed me different aspects of HR – before that I thought HR was just “one thing” but it was when I found out more about the Learning and Development side, I thought this sounds like what I want to do. (She) broke it all down for me and also told me about her journey and something clicked with me. She was very encouraging as I thought there was no way I could take that on as a Mother, but talking to her everything seemed possible and it made me feel confident and she told me I could always email her to ask for advice.  

Everyone was very friendly and people came and had discussions with me, always open to answer any questions. I was so Interested to see how things were running in the business – I feel like I got to know Baringa a lot I only wish I could have stayed longer as there was so much I learnt. I also found out how to do the payslips and accounts which I feel will also directly relate to my new job that I have been offered so it was really helpful.  It is so good to be pushed to do things when there is a purpose to it – you learn so much more that way rather than just being at home knowing you need to practice excel but when you are in a situation when there’s a purpose and you can see the relevance it’s amazing how much more you can take in.  

I also liked how they were being so diverse and treated me an equal, and so many people made me feel so included and keen to answer my questions. I wanted to see how things were run and to attend meetings and presentations, so in a short time I felt I got to know Baringa a lot. I also loved the “lunches” always getting to speak to someone interesting.  

I also got help with my LinkedIn profile – this was so helpful; and what they did with my CV was amazing and told me what to emphasise. So much help was given to me to me in meetings, I felt I got to taste every single bit of the business – just wish it was longer as there is so much to take in and so much going on. Interesting – really seemed to cater for my needs and my interests. Angel and Alice whole environment, everyone was really cool. I felt it was really bespoke and people were always checking in on me. Was able to pick their brains and was good to see so many women in the organisation as well.” 

 

Our Founder Martha Wansbrough
Our Founder Martha Wansbrough
Going into the Civil Service (2019-20)
Going into the Civil Service (2019-20)

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Dec 2, 2020

With a little help from our friends

Happy Holidays
Happy Holidays

Welcome to our last report of 2020. This year has seen so many new challenges for everybody: young people, corporate partners, supporters like yourself, funders, and our team as well. 

In our last two reports we told you some heart-breaking stories of young people who were hit the hardest by the pandemic. They’ve lost their jobs or couldn’t start their placements; their scholarships were cancelled and they were stuck in inappropriate and insecure housing situations. Your support has allowed many of them to seek the help they needed in order to get through the summer. Thank you! 

With a little help from our friends 

We were very excited to see so many of our business partners put on their thinking hats and created engaging professional development workshops, career insight days, and fully fledged virtual work placements for young people working with Drive Forward Foundation. Skilled volunteers and mentors have also worked hard to keep individuals motivated and enable them to drive forward through the lockdown. 

“I really didn’t like being furloughed... I felt low all the time with nothing to do... The excel workshop was really good and kept me going.” - Monica, 23 

“The session with the dancer was good. I learned about dancing and acting and artists.” - Sian, 14 

“I was able to learn how specific procedures are put in place and the reason why. I was also able to learn on all platform how much you have to take in consideration from both parties. I also learned how a day-to-day role in each department. With its tech I got to learn each stage it takes to maintain the tech, as with making sure everyone wellbeing in a work place and different thing we have to understand… The best part I would say is the amount if different topics we learn in are short space of time is great because it covers everything.” – Tionne, 20 

Following career goals 

And so, we’re very happy that our young people are still able to pursue their career and life goals, thanks to dedicated supporters and partners like you. 

Whilst our young people had the opportunity to further their personal and professional development virtually, they are still facing the harsh reality of the current employment market. The UK is currently facing the highest youth unemployment rate since 2016. Almost 15% 16-24-year olds are unemployed, with vulnerable groups such as care leavers disproportionately affected. 

However, our team and young people are eager to beat the odds every single day and are prepared to go the extra mile to succeed. Since the beginning of the year:

  • 64 young people were able to move into employment including apprenticeships and part-time jobs;
  • 45 young people furthered their knowledge, skills, and experience completing work placements and internships;
  • 31 individuals seized the opportunity to progress in training and education. 

We’re further delighted to tell you that so far, over 50 (and still counting!) care-experienced young people working with us have been successful in applying for the 2020 Civil Service Care Leaver Scheme. The programme only started in 2016, when Drive Forward and the Department for Education created a work placement for one young person. Since then, we and our supporters within the civil service have worked hard for the scheme to gain more traction and in 2020 an overwhelming 17 government departments participated offering some 500 positions for care leavers across the UK! 

If you want to learn more about this and other initiatives please subscribe to our newsletter. 

 

Thank you for your ongoing support and believing in the potential of young people!

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