Where to start...

The idea of getting into work can feel really daunting! It can feel tricky to know where to start, what you want to do, or where your particular skills would be put to good use. The first step could be getting connected with some support to help you navigate the job market. Here are some organisations which can offer fantastic support on your journey to employment:

Drive Forward

A great organisation who offer care leavers 1-1 support with an employment consultant, mentoring with both industry professionals and peer mentors, as well as connecting you with training and development, work placements and job opportunities. You can find out more about them here-Drive Forward Foundation

The Spear Programme

The Spear Programme helps young people getting into work or education. They aim to equip you with confidence, motivation and the vital skills needed to succeed in long-term employment. They support with creating impressive CV and cover letters, with interview training and practise and with work and training opportunities. You can find out more about them here- Spear Programme

Shadow To Shine

Shadow To Shine believe that development, education, and skill sharing is the key, and their mentor and business connections facilitate purposeful work placements. They provide a range of motivational activities, mentoring, informative work shadowing and essential work experience. Shadow To Shine fights to open doors to corporate work environments, creative industries, and facilitate other opportunities which young people do not always have easy access to. We think they are great and you can find more about them here- Shadow To Shine


Another great way into work is through an apprenticeship a whole host of different industries offer apprenticeships so you can really think about what type of work it is that you would like to get into. Apprenticeships are an exciting option as you get hands-on training and also the chance to put your skills into practice. Apprenticeships are available at multiple levels. From school leavers, people upskilling in their careers and complete career changes. There are hundreds to choose from and some include a qualification, like a degree. Just because you are doing an apprenticeship does not mean you won't get paid....

What you'll earn

What you earn will depend on the industry, location and type of apprenticeship you choose.

If you're aged 16 to 18 or in the first year of your apprenticeship, you’re entitled to the apprentice rate.

If you're 19 or over and have completed the first year of your apprenticeship, you’re entitled to the National Minimum Wage.

This is the minimum you’ll earn - many employers pay a lot more and offer their apprentices a competitive salary.

You can find more about apprenticeships, what is available and how to apply here- Apprenticeships

Boost Your CV

A great way to increase your chances of getting into work is to boost your CV, thinking about what you currently have on it, how to make the most of the great skills and experience you already have as well as how to grow your skillset and add to your CV.

  • Personalise or tailor it. Take some time to think about what job you are applying for and how the contents of your CV speaks to that, your keyworker can support you to tailor your CV to the job you are applying for, so that employers know at a first glance that you are the right person for the job!

  • Enhance it with some courses. Future Learn is just one place which has tons of free online courses on a whole range of subjects from computer programming and coding to food science and nutrition. Check out their courses here- Future Learn

  • Add some work experience through volunteering. Volunteering is a great way to meet new people, gain new or use existing skills, get experience and also make a big difference to your community. Many different job and industries have volunteer positions and employers look at volunteer experience as just as valid as paid work experience. You may see volunteering opportunities advertised around your local community or check out 'Do It' who have a database of volunteering opportunities. You can find them here- Do It

The Interview Stage...

Charlie recently secured her first full-time job, after a brilliant interview that really impressed her new employer. Below are Charlie’s five top tips for successful job interviews…

Tip #1

Know what the interviewer is looking for. Think about what type of job you are applying for, and dress, speak and behave in a way that reflects this. Some jobs may require professional clothing and business language, whereas others may prefer a more relaxed, personable approach.

Tip #2

Be responsive. When you arrive at the interview, notice the vibe of the interviewer and try to mirror this. Notice their body language and the way they interact with you, and match their energy.

Tip #3

Practice beforehand. This can be with your keyworker, friends or family. Think about the questions you may be asked and try answering these out loud. It is great doing this with someone who knows you, as they will be able to share their perspective on your strengths and qualities, and how to demonstrate these in your answers.

Tip #4

Don’t hold back. Even if you don’t meet every single point on the job criteria, don’t let that hold you back. Focus on what you do have, not what you don’t. Be confident in yourself and what you bring to the table.

Tip #5

Be yourself! You are what you have to offer, so let your personality shine through :)

What will working be like though?

MR  works as a barista in a Central London café, he shared some thoughts on his working life with us....

What do you like about your job?

​I like chatting with new people

What's the biggest challenge of your job?

When there is a big queue and I have to remember all the orders, there is a lot of pressure.

 What would be your top tips for someone starting work for the first time?

​Turn up, don't be late, don't cheat, and respect your manager!


Where ever you are on your journey to employment, you are doing amazingly! We'd love to hear about what you are learning and discovering and what your advice would be to other young people who are also bravely getting themselves out there!