Young care leavers graduate into paid jobs with learning disability charity

Megan and Hft Service Manager Glenn StocksHft, the learning disabilities charity, has been supporting young people leaving care to find paid employment within their services in Bradford in partnership with The Leaving Care Service.

Megan, Becky and Anan have been living in care homes or with foster parents, and through Hft’s apprenticeship scheme, are now earning a wage.

The purpose of the apprentice scheme is to get young people into work. It helps young people build skills and experience by supporting people with learning disabilities to integrate in the local community, through accessing employment, educational and community opportunities.

Becky and Anan are full time apprentices, and Megan who recently completed the course has been appointed a full time permanent support worker for Hft.

“I’ve been in the care system since I was 10 and in and out of lots of different children’s homes. I started volunteering for Hft in March, and then completed a 20 week traineeship,” said Megan.

Megan was well supported by both Hft and the Leaving Care Service and was keen to stress how important the placement was in helping her develop her skills and find work.

She began by developing her basic skills working with people with learning disabilities, and learnt about how to keep people healthy, safe and well as part of a team.

As Megan’s experience and skills increased, she was approached by Hft’s staff team to apply for a permanent position when an opportunity arose.

“When I was told I got the job, it was indescribable feeling. I didn’t think anyone would give me the opportunity to have this. Hft has given me so much – and coming from the care system, I’m really proud to be giving back – and I love this job, I love helping other people.”

Both Becky and Anam are completing an apprentice support worker role but attend college one day week to study QCF Level 2 Diploma in Health and Social Care.

Becky chose to work with learning and physical disabilities as she cares for her brother who is disabled. Anam is working within Hft’s Women’s Service.

Working beside the Leaving Care Service, which provides aftercare advice, support and financial assistance both to Bradford care leavers and the homeless, Hft Service Manager, Glenn Stocks highlights the importance of creating opportunities.

“At Hft, we actively try to help find employment for those people who we support who want a job” said Glenn

“As part of our values as an organisation, we look at what opportunities we can provide as an employer. This was the perfect chance to help provide opportunities for young people who may not have had the best start in life gain meaningful employment and help develop their careers.”

Mark Hofsteede, Employment Link Worker for the Leaving Care Service echoes these thoughts.

“The partnership between Hft and us to support these young people who otherwise would not have had such great opportunities has been fantastic. These placements really have been life changing for these three young people and I think we should all be very proud of the work we have done.” said Mark.

Megan plans to develop her career further at Hft, and continue to build on her current skills.

“The Leaving Care Service and Hft have been amazing. I can’t thank Mark Hofsteede and Glenn Stocks enough for everything they have done for me – they have supported and encouraged me for such a long time now, and they’ve helped change my life for the better” added Megan.

About Hft

Hft is a national charity providing local support for people with learning disabilities and their families. For more information on Hft please visit http://www.hft.org.uk/

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