Manchester City Council

Extra help for young women leaving care to get into world of work

A group of young women leaving care in Manchester are swapping the city streets next week for the wilds of Wales to mark the start of a six month traineeship aimed at better equipping them for the world of work.

The week-long outward bound course is the first stage of the bespoke traineeship that will see the group of eight young women taken through a wide programme of activities and work experience over the coming six months.

The traineeship is a collaboration between the council and national charity WeMindTheGap.  

The women taking part are aged between 18 and 22 years and have all been specially chosen to take part in the traineeship, for which they are paid. 

After completing their outward bound challenge the group will return to the city for a 'getting ready for work' week during which they will learn the do's and don'ts of the workplace including punctuality, values, and work behaviours, before starting their first work placement.

They will undertake five different work experience placements during the six months in a variety of different employment sectors, and will also receive expert help and advice on job searching, writing CVs, and interview techniques.

Alongside their work placements the young women will be given life coaching, mentoring, and additional support to help them understand everyday issues that will be important to their future success such as budgeting, women's health, and nutrition.

They will also be given the chance to try a wide range of new experiences they might not have had the opportunity to try before - such as visits to local places of interest, meetings with local dignitaries, learning new cooking skills, trying out new crafts, film-making, taking part in sports.

Support for the group doesn't end after six months.  Once their paid traineeship comes to an end, the group will receive further support and mentoring for another six months.  This is to provide continuity and help with next steps in finding a job, as well as 'life support' to make sure the young women have got everything they need in place to enable them to be successful once they're in work.

Councillor Garry Bridges, Executive Member for Children's Services, Manchester City Council, said:  "We're committed to being a good corporate parent for all our children, which includes supporting them as young adults when they leave our care.  

"As part of this we've teamed up with charity WeMindTheGap to offer young women practical and holistic support to help them build a positive future as they move forwards with their lives.  

"It's clear from the track record of this approach in other places that it's going to make a real difference to the young women taking part and will go a long way towards helping them achieve their full potential."

The success of previous traineeships elsewhere run by charity WeMindTheGap suggest that by the half-way stage of the programme, the young women should be well on the way to making huge changes in their lives and becoming great employees, and should by this time have the skills they need to lead independent lives, and the self-belief that they now have choices about their future.

Rachel Clacher, Founder and Chair, WeMindTheGap, said: "We're delighted to be partnering with Manchester City Council to bring our traineeship model to a whole new community.  Having proven how well the traineeship works in other cities, it will be wonderful to see the very first group of Manchester trainees growing, gaining confidence with every placement and experience, and demonstrating real changes in behaviours and thinking.  We wish them every success."

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