What is the aim of the project?
To provide an employability support service for care experienced young people.
Where is it taking place?
The programme is taking place in Aberdeen.
What has been achieved?
Many care experienced young people face considerable barriers to employment and the majority will need additional support and mentoring to help them achieve and sustain employment. Events in their past prevent them from accessing certain jobs or put them at a disadvantage.
Aberdeen City Council’s Employability Team decided to focus on this group of young people in the city to ensure there was employability support to address the specific barriers to employment they face. Various interventions and specific training courses have been developed, including an employability pilot project designed by care experienced young people (CEYP) for CEYP, a work experience internship for CEYP with placements at Aberdeen City Council, intensive employability support for CEYP delivered through a third sector partner, and a guaranteed interview scheme at the council for CEYP meeting minimum job specification criteria.
ABZWorks uses a person-centred approach and actively encourages user voice. The CEYP Pilot consisted of a 9-week programme of ‘traditional’ employability support, such as CV development, interview skills and mock interviews, alongside other elements including first aid training, work experience, and an on-site introduction to various jobs at a local health centre. Young people were consulted throughout the project and it was adapted accordingly.
The CEYP internship programme is delivered in-house, meaning the team can wrap support around every participant, including from their line manager, HR, employability keyworkers, and social workers. Additional support, including funding for work clothes and lunches, was also given to each young person. They were paid the Real Living Wage and placements were designed with incrementally increasing hours, from 16 hours per week initially to 30 hours per week by week 12, but this was flexible based on individual needs. Everyone supported by ABZWorks has an employability keyworker to help them progress at their own pace, recognising an individual’s barriers and experiences, and working together to overcome them.
Who is running it?
Delivered by Aberdeen City Council’s Employability Team.
Why did the judging panel like it?
The judges were very impressed with the approach taken by Aberdeen Council and their partners to support CEYP, where the flexibility and support they have in place to remove barriers is brilliant. Not only do the CEYP benefit from the Council’s paid internship programme, that can lead to the young person progressing to a Modern Apprenticeship, but also through their third sector partner’s programmes, where they have established very effective links with all the local care establishments, to assist with their recruitment. During the judges visit it was clear that all of the partners had a real passion and commitment to ensuring that their CEYP were supported to reach their full potential, and the young people present on the day were able to confirm the value of the support they were receiving, and the effect it had on them.