A new pilot employability support project designed to help Aberdeen’s care experienced young people into work has been launched in the city.
RiteWorks, a partnership between Aberdeen City Council and WorkingRite, will support six care experienced young people in the pilot phase.
The project offers a range of one-to-one and group activities, opportunities to gain qualifications and valuable work experience, with the aim of supporting the participants to secure and sustain quality employment.
Supporting care experienced children and young people are key themes in the city’s Local Outcome Improvement Plan.
Despite being delayed by the pandemic and associated challenges in bringing the participants together with employability specialists and mentors, RiteWorks is already seeing significant results.
Participants are turning up regularly to online sessions, engaging well, actively seeking more opportunities to connect remotely, and embracing opportunities to learn and train.
Council co-leader, Jenny Laing, said: “It is well known that care experienced young people often face significantly greater challenges than their peers as they move into adulthood, so it is absolutely right that we put extra support in place to help them achieve the positive outcomes of which they are capable.
“RiteWorks, delivered as part of Aberdeen’s Young Person Guarantee, is an important test of how additional support can make a really positive difference to some of our most vulnerable young people and help them achieve their ambitions.
“Employment is a great stabiliser, it gives structure to the day and week, a positive focus, puts money in your pocket, gives independence and a sense of self, brings opportunities to make new friends, and above all, the opportunity to further progress and develop.”
Lockdown has brought additional challenges of isolation, increasing anxiety and loneliness, and concerns about the future.
The flexible nature of the pilot has enabled WorkingRite and the council’s ABZWorks employability team to shift the focus from skills and training onto wellbeing and emotional support as and when required, which has paid dividends in building relationships and trusts between the teams and participants.
Ms Laing added: “Aberdeen City Council has corporate parenting responsibilities for all of the city’s care experienced children and young people.
“Now more than ever before, given the current economic climate and the impact of Covid and the oil and gas downturn on the labour market and particularly on young people, it is essential that we put a range of additional measures in place to ensure they have the chance to secure a positive future.
“We are very pleased to have the opportunity with Working Rite to test this model, which could ultimately be rolled out across Scotland.”
WorkingRite national operations manager, Scott Christie, said: “WorkingRite’s philosophy and approach has always centred around the power of relationships and during this last year our approach has become more needed than ever.
“We are absolutely delighted to be working alongside colleagues within Aberdeen City Council to pilot and develop our ‘RiteWorks’ model of intensive and flexible employability support for care experienced young people in the city.
“With additional investment from the Agnes Hunter Trust, we have been able to roll out a really positive, aspirational and innovative employability model which will enable these young people to flourish and move towards a happy adulthood.”
The experiences of the young people participating in RiteWorks are being recorded, partly to help them look back and see what they have achieved through their involvement, and partly to help tailor the programme to better suit their needs and for the needs of other young people in the future.
RiteWorks is one of a suite of employability programmes being delivered through ABZWorks.
A team of employability keyworkers is available to support city residents of all ages to access training, education, and employment.
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