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Who Cares? Scotland knows that Care Experienced people have a lot of talent, intelligence and dreams that they want to fulfil. 

Unique abilities

Often, due to the adversity experienced living all or part of their childhood in the ‘care system’, Care Experienced people offer us a uniquely valuable way of understanding the world, with an emotional intelligence that enables positive relation to others.

We also encounter a strong desire in Care Experienced people to translate their experiences of care into change, to positively affect current and future generations.

As a relationship-based organisation all about people, these are vital skills for us.

Vital to employ Care Experienced staff

More specifically, as a charity serving the Care Experienced community, it is essential we have staff that are from this community.

We employ Care Experienced people at all levels of our staffing, from entry level through to Director.

I’ve not met a single employer who hasn’t been impressed with the value a Care Experienced person has contributed to its business.

Ruby Lawrence

Employers need to understand Care Experienced people

Employers can make a difference in supporting Care Experienced people into work and help is available to do that.

There’s a range of structural and cultural barriers to gaining employment.

The vital first step is understanding care experience; once employers have knowledge, they then tend to develop the momentum, confidence and skill to offer apprenticeship opportunities.

I’ve not met a single employer who hasn’t been impressed with the value a Care Experienced person has contributed to its business.

The most important step in the journey is for employers to hear from individuals who are Care Experienced, so that they can understand their journeys and aspirations on a human level.

Dropping entry requirements to apply for an apprenticeship would be another positive step, unless they are absolutely essential to the job.

Many Care Experienced people have had disrupted school lives, caused from lots of school moves, for example. This means they haven’t achieved top grades at school, despite being very intelligent and capable.

Paying the Real Living Wage is also something we encourage, so that an independent Care Experienced person can live, not just survive.

Another aspect to successfully retaining and recruiting individuals starting out in their career is designing meaningful in-work mentoring, so there is holistic and peer support for those who may not have much of a support network outside of their job.

Compassionate mentors

The important factor about good line management and in-work mentoring is the competencies of individuals.

What we are asking for is that these key staff have compassion and good listening skills.

All employers will have those kinds of people in their business and we can advise on the design of in-work mentoring and provide digital materials that will help to give them an insight into care experienced individuals.

NHS Health Scotland was the first employer to partner with us on Care Experienced apprenticeships.

Today, their four apprentices from that partnership are doing amazingly, having progressed within organisation after completing their apprenticeships.

For any employers that might not yet have considered the care experienced population, I would say listen and start building a relationship with the community.

Support for employers

Enhanced funding is available to employers and training providers recruiting and training apprentices who are Care Experienced.  The funding has been extended for those up to the age of 29, which is a fantastic policy change.

However, we would want to remove the age threshold for funding altogether, to recognise the fact that being Care Experienced is a lifelong reality. A talented person in their forties is often facing very similar obstacles to their younger Care Experienced peers.

For any employers that might not yet have considered the care experienced population, I would say listen and start building a relationship with the community.

Who Cares? Scotland is a great place to hear and find out more about how to offer opportunities to care experienced individuals.

More information

Visit apprenticeships.scot to find out more about support for employers to take on apprentices, including enhanced funding.

A guide to inclusive recruitment is available on apprenticeships.scot

For more help and support contact MAequality@sds.co.uk 

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