Getting work experience and placements

Work experience and placements can provide you with valuable insight and real experience of the world of work. They can help you decide what sort of job you may like, what you’re interested in and to develop your skills and confidence. It will also give you something to put on your CV and talk about at interviews.

There are a number of organisations which offer work experience and placements targeted at care leavers, or can organise them for you. You can find information on these below. It is also worth contacting organisations which you're interested in to see if they offer work experience schemes.

‘When I had left my children’s home to begin living independently, I never imagined being in a position to choose between two amazing job offers from international law firms. My advice for anyone leaving care is to do your research. You will find that there are many resources in place to help people that have grown up in care to fulfill their potential.’ Richele

From Care2Work

This is a national programme managed by Catch22 which helps care leavers gain work experience and skills which can help them enter the workforce. From Care2Work organises placements for care leavers and works with employers and local authorities to ensure they are supported effectively e.g. in Marriott Hotels and at Premier League football clubs. For more information go to: www.catch-22.org.uk/care-leavers

National Citizen Service

The National Citizen Service is a free programme which involves two residential trips to help build your confidence, develop new skills and boost your CV, before running your own community project. Looked after children and care leavers aged 16 or 17 are guaranteed a place! Visit www.ncsyes.co.uk to find out more.

The Prince’s Trust: Get Into programme

This is a UK wide programme which covers work experience placements and on the job training in specific sectors. These cover retail, construction, logistics and hospitality. During the programme, you'll benefit from one-to-one support to help you think about what you'd like to do after the course finishes, and will have the option of support either from the staff or a volunteer mentor for up to six months. The programme is free and open to 16-25 year olds who aren’t in work, education or training. For more information go to: www.princes-trust.org.uk/help-for-young-people/get-job/get-experience

Catch-22: Sector Skills Academies

Catch-22 provides work experience across a range of sectors, including customer service, business administration/management, sales, hospitality and leisure. They have a lot of experience in supporting care leavers to reach their goals and get into work. For more information visit: www.catch-22.org.uk/services/apprenticeships-and-employability/work-ready/

Local provision

Individual councils also run programmes to help young people, including care leavers, into work. This may be delivered in house by the leaving care service or other parts of the council, or by other services such as local charities. Contact your local authority, or ask your personal adviser to do this for you, to find out what is available in your area.

Jobcentre Plus supported Voluntary Work Experience Placement

If you’re 16 to 24 and you’re getting Jobseeker’s Allowance, you can get a work experience opportunity through Jobcentre Plus. They can last between 2 and 8 weeks, and you’ll normally be expected to work between 25 and 30 hours a week to provide a realistic working experience. You will remain on benefit throughout the opportunity providing you meet the requirements of your benefits. Funding is available to cover your travel, childcare, replacement care and other costs involved in doing the placement. For more information, go to www.gov.uk/contactjobcentre-plus, call 0345 6060 234 or visit your local Jobcentre Plus office.

Jobcentre Plus Work Trials

This is a trial period in an actual job – it is not a work placement or work experience. A work trial gives you the chance to try out a job and keep getting benefits. The trial duration is determined on a case by case basis. The initial period should only be for a few days and this can be reviewed and extended if necessary. In exceptional circumstances, trials can last up to a maximum of 30 working days (over no more than 6 calendar weeks) and you might get offered a job at the end. Care Leavers can undertake a Work Trial from day one of their claim. Participation is voluntary and you can leave early or turn down the job if offered. Your benefits won’t be affected if you finish early or turn down a job you’re offered. For more information, go to www.gov.uk/contactjobcentre-plus, call 0345 6060 234 or visit your local Jobcentre Plus office.

18-24 Jobcentre Plus Offer

If you are aged 18-24 and in receipt of benefits, you can get extra help and support. This might include a DWP work experience placement, a place at a sector-based work academy (which involves pre-employment training, work experience and a guaranteed job interview), a referral to the careers service or extra adviser time to improve your job search skills. For more information, visit the DWP website: www.dwp.gov.uk/youth-contract

Careers advice

Deciding what career or job you want to do can be difficult, but there are lots of organisations and people who can help you with your decisions.

Looking for work

This section gives lots of hints and tips about how to find and apply for jobs. It also tells you where you can get help with job search and applications.

Work experience

Work experience can help you decide what sort of job you may like, develop your skills and confidence, and give you something to put on your CV.

Self-employment

You don’t have to have a job and work for an employer - you could set up your own business and work for yourself.

Financial help

There is lots of financial support available to help you look for work, once you find a job and if you want to do some training.

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