From education to employment

New government backed Employment Charter launched to help find jobs for young people leaving care

Secretary of State for Education, Nadhim Zahawi

A new charter which makes it easier for organisations to offer employment opportunities to vulnerable young people leaving care has been launched at an event (Oct 28) in Westminster during National Care Leavers Week.

Organisations across the country are being urged to sign up to ‘The Care Leaver Friendly Employer Charter’ which has been developed by the Care Leaver Covenant in collaboration with recruitment specialists Penna.

In support of the charter, Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi shared a message at the event attended by David Rutley, Minister for Welfare Delivery, and business leaders including Sir Peter Bazalgette, chair of ITV and head of the Covenant’s Business Council.

The Business Council brings together senior business leaders, including Amazon, Compass and Penna who have signed up to the charter already. They are offering an ambassadorial helping hand within their respective sectors, helping young people access career opportunities.

The new charter sets out nine principles for employers to adopt and outlines key activities to work towards in recruitment, tracking and development, ensuring that care leavers are identified and supported.

Often care leavers are not able to access jobs in organisations which do not have tailored support for vulnerable employees, which the new charter aims to tackle.

Around 40 per cent of care leavers aged 19 to 21 are in the NEET bracket – not in education, employment, and training – compared with 12 per cent of the wider population.

Early signatories to the Care Leaver Friendly Employer Charter also include the Adecco Group, with ambitions to reach 100 signatories.

The Care Leaver Covenant is funded by the Department for Education and delivered by Diversity & Inclusion specialists, Spectra.

Nadhim Zahawi, Education Secretary, said:

“It’s hard to believe that it was three years ago that I had the pleasure of launching the Care Leaver Covenant in Birmingham.

“Unlike most of us, care leavers don’t have the support networks to help them access opportunities, or the encouragement to reach their full potential. The Care Leaver Employer Friendly Charter being launched today is very much about how we can nurture that potential.”

David Rutley, Minister for Welfare Delivery, said:

“DWP is a proud signatory of the Care Leaver Covenant, and recognises the unique challenges faced by young people leaving care.

“Getting people into sustained, long-term employment is at the heart of our Plan for Jobs, and this charter is a great step forward for care leavers, supporting both employers and employees to understand what more can be done to help them.

“We will work closely with Spectra to encourage employers to use this charter and ensure care leavers are not left behind as we build back better.”

Julie Towers, Managing Director of Penna and Stafford Long, said:

“As a signatory to the Care Leaver Covenant, Penna and I are delighted to champion the new Charter and we will do everything possible to commend my clients and all employers to sign up.

“Who wouldn’t want to support young people who haven’t had the advantages of others in terms of parental guidance and support, and have had to navigate their future work life alone when leaving care?

“I encourage every employer to consider this as not just good corporate social responsibility, but through signing the charter becoming more of a corporate parent and turning words into action to enable care leavers to enter the workforce. This talent pool is enthusiastic, ambitious and diverse – they add richness to any workforce and with the talent challenges currently facing the UK, who wouldn’t want to sign up for that?”

Matthew Gordon, Chief Executive of Spectra, delivery partner of the Care Leaver Covenant, said:

“Supporting care leavers into education, employment and training is one of the key outcomes which sits at the heart of the Covenant.

“Since we launched the Care Leaver Covenant we have constantly reviewed and interrogated the process companies follow to sign up to it. The Care Leaver Friendly Employer Charter is a quicker way for organisations to sign up, without compromising on impact, making it easier for them to better engage and support care leavers.

“The work of the Business Council and Julie’s expertise in recruitment and HR services has really helped with the creation of the Charter, making it accessible for a diverse range of companies.

“We feel the Charter can seriously enhance outcomes for care leavers and it will become an industry standard for employers.”

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