Interview prep participants and volunteers
Since the beginning of the year, over 70 young people joined Drive Forward, eager to achieve their career goals and move forward in life. Yes, they may come out of foster care or have grown up in children’s homes, but they don’t let their past define them and are prepared to take on any challenges that come their way. And so, over the past 4 months, 27 young people have successfully moved into employment, whilst another 25 care leavers have gained valuable work experience.
For some of them, this fantastic success wouldn’t have been possible without your commitment and support. Thank you, for believing in young people!
Having lived through years of physical and emotional abuse, a social worker visited Kelley and her mother’s home, and on the same day the 11-year-old girl was placed into care. It took a couple of years before she would be able to trust the people around her, but with the consistent support and love of her foster family, Keeley grew up knowing that there are people who truly care.
Keeley first came to Drive Forward in September last year, after graduating with a degree in Youth Work. Her Employment Consultant Heaven immediately recognised Keeley’s eagerness to advocate for positive change and improvement of the care system. She clearly wants to help other children and young people in care to have better access to opportunities. So, whilst Heaven was helping Keely explore various career paths, she suggested Keeley joined the Drive Forward Policy Forum. Within only a couple of weeks, Keeley became an active member of the group and was admired and valued by her peers. She helped create a shared vision for a more equal society and participated in round tables and consultations informing and educating policymakers about how their work is perceived on the ground.
Keely’s main goal was to work with the youth, this therefore meant that she took full advantage of regular 1-2-1 support sessions with Heaven, who pointed her towards suitable opportunities and introduced her to different companies. One of the proposed opportunities was a full-time Training Assistant role with a financial advice charity in London. Looking at the job spec, Keeley instantly knew that this was the right place for her to develop her skills and kick-start her career.
So, Heaven and her got to work. They perfected her CV, put together a convincing cover letter, and once Keeley got invited to an interview, they practiced her presentation skills. All the hard work paid off and Keeley is now working with young people, including care lavers, to help them effectively manage their money and transition from care into independent living.
Before she could get started making a real difference to young people’s lives, Keeley had to overcome her own challenges, one of which was financial. She had only just moved house and had to manage the expenses that come with such a big step e.g. buying the basics for her own household, getting new carpets fitted etc.
However, regardless of the fact that Keely had savings, due to the fact that she lived in zone 3 and her new workplace was in zone 1, it turned out that Keeley was not prepared to flock out £200 a month to travel to work and back every day.
“I so wanted this job! It was just an unlucky coincidence that it came along at a time where I was a bit tight. I know that I’m strong and independent and I’m sure I would have found some way to make it work, even if that meant taking on a weekend bar job or something. But thanks to Closing the Gap I didn’t have to! It was such a relief when Heaven told me that they would help me. And the job is going really well and I’m learning a lot, so thank you!”
Joe’s journey with Drive Forward is a unique one, as he is following in the footsteps of his twin brother Peter (whose story you read last year!). Peter, who is now working as a Junior Accounts Executive in a reknowned PR firm in the City, has been working with Drive Forward since 2016, doing work placements in various companies and building his professional networks. His brother Joe, on the other hand, was in a more challenging position at the time. Nevertheless, he picked up on Peters successes and eventually joined us in 2018. Having heard all about the fantastic opportuntities our partners offer to motivated young people, especially in the advertising sector where his brother started out, Joe decided to give the creative industries a shot. He attended an aim Higher Day with our partners at J. Walter Thomposon in Knigthsbrigde and immediate fell in love with the friendly and supporting environment and vibe. Eager to get a foot in the door, it took Joe less than a week to complete the application form and start preparing for the job interview.
On the day, his enthusiasm, motivation and genuine interest in the industry instantly made a lasting impression at J. Walter Thompson and Joe was offered a 2-month internship.
Joe was so happy when he found out that he would be working in their productions department. He knew that this opportunity could help him to truly turn his life around. There was, however, one big challenge lingering over him. Joe lives in Hershem, which is outside London travel zones. The cost of travel into London and back every single day to get to work amounted to approximately £200 per month! When Joe was given his payday, he calculated that until his first paycheck, he would have to spend a total of £340 on travel alone. As a care-experienced young person managing his own household, Joe didn’t have that sort of money. He was thinking about taking out a loan or asking some friends, but quickly realised, that given his past, the chances of him getting a loan were pretty small. Joe was devastated and ready to give up. He couldn’t believe that after all his hard work and effort to get this job, he would have to give it up because of travel.
So, Joe was very pleased, relived and grateful when his brother told him about Closing the Gap and that Drive Forward could help him financially and enable him to take up this fantastic opportunity.
Today, Joe absolutely loves working at J. Walter Thompson:
„I get to work with different departments and try out different things. It’s a very interesting placement and I’m learning new stuff every day!“
For more stories and updates about events and volunteering opportunities please sign up to our mailing list!
Interview prep with HR volunteers