We have been running a new employment programme in our hostel, Best of British, to help our young people develop key skills. The more exposed young people are to different work places, the better their understanding of what employers are looking for.
The Best of British programme was launched to increase workplace awareness, through visits to various local employers. The first of these, to Cambridge Associates, was an open invitation where all were given an opportunity to see a law firm in action, then consider what skills and attributes large employers are looking for.
The second stage involved an offer of a pre-employment training workshop with Burberry. Again, the point of this visit was to help the young people develop a wider understanding of how a big multinational functions, to understand the variety of roles available, and to raise aspirations.
After these two sessions, the bar was raised again where they were expected to attend an early morning briefing session in order to gain access to the next opportunity. The Royal Household Careers Day formed the pinnacle of the Best of British programme, resulting in work placement opportunities in the palace, and, in one instance, a job interview.
The quotes below from participants of the programme show the effect it had on the young people.
‘I never expected to be in a place like that. When we went on the tour with Land Securities, I never imagined the place was so huge and it’s so neat that it is all connected underground. It gave me a lot of ideas about working in construction and property management as a career.’
‘The employees gave us such insight into their personal journeys and how they had reched their own dream jobs – it gave me a really good idea of how to plan for the future.’
‘We were given some excellent advice around application techniques and CVs and I felt welcomed and ‘special’. Thank you so much for this special event; it really gave my confidence a boost.’
‘I was really nervous when we set out but everyone made us feel so welcome and it was such a good experience to visit professional offices. I also enjoyed the tour which made me realise that the new buildings on Victoria Street were part of ‘my home’ and not just glass monuments that other people go into and work in.’
Outside of the Best of British programme there has been success in the young persons’ jobs club, with 10 young people gaining employment in roles as wide-ranging as TNT delivery riders, in the room service team of a five-star hotel and a Barclays Apprenticeship.
The success of the Best of British programme proves that, with the right support, young people can turn their life around and take steps towards independence. To give them this chance, we need your help.