Apprentices with Farouq Sheikh, Patrick Dunne and Jonathan Freeman
This week, young people celebrated their graduation from an innovative new employability programme. The 16-19-year-olds are the first cohort to complete an innovative new scheme targeted at bringing new skills into the care sector with the support of CareTech Holdings plc staff.

The new programmes were brought about through a partnership between the CareTech Foundation and EY Foundation. It gives young people the core employability skills and confidence to enable them to transition successfully from school to work in the care sector or into further education. Further programmes are also being developed specifically with the intention of helping those in care move into work or further education.

Successful apprentices celebrate completing the programme

For too long, the care sector has been chronically understaffed, with too few young people seeing it as an attractive career. The nine young work experience students who celebrated completing the programme on Wednesday have begun to change the narrative around careers in care.

During the six-month programme, they benefitted from intensive employability skills training and quality paid work experience with CareTech plc in both local services and the Head Office. They also each received one-to-one mentoring from CareTech plc staff to ensure they have the support they need to take steps to thrive in the workplace, and on Wednesday, they had their last sessions with their mentors.

The mentoring programme has also nurtured skills development within the wider care sector; CareTech plc employees volunteered as mentors, guided by EY Foundation expertise and support, growing their leadership abilities.

Nora receiving her certificate

Nora (17), who completed the Our Future programme said:

“I wanted a new experience and to prove wrong the people who doubted me. One person in particular always underestimated me. He called me unemployable and I wanted to get involved in things to show him.

“Normally I feel nervous in a new environment but I’ve learnt communication skills; verbal and non-verbal.

“I want to go to university to study social work. This has shown me that this is what I want to do.”

Another successful Our Future graduate, Maleak (17), added:

“I find it hard to communicate with new people and so I wanted to build my confidence and I can use these skills elsewhere.

“My confidence has been boosted and I’ve stopped stuttering when I meet people. It feels good.  I think it’s helping my career chances.

“My teachers are very proud of me. It’s really boosted my experience and skills and it helped me know what the working place is like and the kind of things you can do.”

Jonathan Freeman, CEO of the CareTech Foundation, said:

“Nora, Maleak and the other young people have come so far over the last few months and we’re all incredibly impressed by how they’ve risen to the challenge. This first group has shown how well young people have taken to roles in care when given the right training and support. These young people have seen at first-hand how rewarding a career in care can be and how care workers make a genuine difference to peoples’ lives.

“As our population ages and the demand for care grows, the need to recruit and retain more high-quality carers is only going to grow. Our partnership with the EY Foundation is already seeing real success in promoting careers in care.”

Patrick Dunne, EY Foundation Chair said:

“It was fantastic to attend the CareTech graduation and see how the young people on the programme have developed the confidence, employability skills and networks to thrive in the care sector. At the EY Foundation, we are really excited about what has already been achieved through this programme and how it will grow and achieve even greater impact in the future.”