In my experience of being in the fostering system, gaining employment at an early age can be extremely hard even for those who are not in the system, however for those who are there are many considerable factors that stop care leavers and children in care from getting employment. From experience of being a care experienced person myself, when in education, being able to successfully achieve outstanding grades in GCSE’s (General Certificate for Secondary Education) is hard, as for many of us we get placed into the system either halfway through school or even during our final year. When this happens, a lot of the persons grades can drop dramatically, however this is not the same for all care experienced people, as for those who were in the system before doing their studies can do well without being impacted. For those who are not able to get through their GCSE’s or even though school itself, the chances of getting into employment is extremely hard and unlikely.
For me, when I was at school, I was part of the selection of people who did not get very great grades in their final GCSE’s, which I felt at the time would mess up my chances of gaining a good career, until I found out I needed to go to college. When I found this out I was like ok, I need to go to college to continue my studies which I was excited to do as I wanted to train in film and tv production, but the only way for me to do this was to retake my English and maths which were the two GCSE’s that I failed first time around, so I decided to retake my English and maths alongside my course in film and TV.
While I was undertaking my college course and retaking my English and maths, I wanted to earn a bit of money as I wanted to explore and learn what it is like in the working world, by doing this I tried looking and applying for a few jobs that were close to home and college so it would be easy to get to if I got the post. While applying I found out that the application forms ask for what grades you have at ‘GCSE’ level, which I found surprising at the time as it was my first time trying to get work and I never saw application forms for employment before.
However, seeing this did not stop me from being honest about my grades, as I felt that If I lied then it was most likely they would find out one way or another. The worst thing about admitting what my grades were was that they the companies did not want to hire me or interview me with bad grades for English and Maths. It is shown that a lot of people who end up in unemployment is down to bad grades and hardly enough experience. However, this did not stop me from trying to get a job. For a long time, I was unemployed before getting my first job because everywhere turned me down, due to my bad grades and hardly any experience, but even when I got my first job in my first year of college in a photography shop a big reality came into check for me about why a lot of people are unemployed.
For many young people including myself, having a part time job can have an amazing impact on someone’s life as it can teach someone what it is like to be an adult at an early age by earning their own money. For people who are not in care, this can be easily rectified as if they lose their job they can get back up by the help of parents and their own money, but for care leavers this is not the case, as the job they have and the money they earn will be the money they have to live with.
I learned this the hard way for a while, as to begin with, I thought the money I earned was just for me, and I was for a while but when I started being at university and defending for myself, the amount of money I needed to use for rent and household materials went dramatically, until I had no money left. Being a newly independent person who is also a care leaver can sometimes feel impossible, but deep down from someone who is going through the same issues currently, it does slowly get better and easier until everything starts to feel normal once again.
By Anonymous Care Experienced Blogger.