MP for North Swindon

Justin Tomlinson MP

North Swindon MP Visits PGL As He Urges Business To See Potential In Care Leavers

 


The North Swindon MP and Minister for Family Support, Justin Tomlinson, has visited PGL to see the benefits of their care-leaver employment programme, which helps some of the UK’s most vulnerable young people to find work.

Last year, there were almost 38,000 former care leavers aged 17 to 21. 80% of employers report that they do not have any concerns about their skills and reliability and there are currently over 800,000 vacancies in the UK. Yet, one in three care leavers are considered to be long-term NEET (not in education, employment or training).

The Government is passionate about improving the lives and life chances of care leavers, including improving access to employment and training. The 2013 cross-government strategy for young people leaving care introduced policies and practices so that care leavers were better supported across a number of areas including health, employment and housing. This approach was reformed in 2016, with the vision to increase and improve the help provided to care leavers by government and wider society.

PGL employs care leavers in a number of its UK centres and recognises they may have wider needs that can present a challenge during recruitment and employment. Staff are trained to provide the right support to help smooth the transition into employment, ensuring all staff have the best start at PGL, regardless of background. Help includes the provision of onsite accommodation and food, assistance with references and a range of training and qualifications.

The Minister praised PGL’s work with care leavers. He also urged other businesses to follow the company’s lead and sign up to See Potential which champions employers who recognise the talents of people from different backgrounds and advises on more inclusive recruitment practices.

While at PGL, Justin met care-leaver Taylor Dalzell who works as a catering assistant at the site. He also spoke to members of the PGL recruitment team about how they’re developing a more diverse and inclusive workforce, providing employment opportunities to young people leaving care. PGL’s specialist team works one to one with care leavers to ensure the best chances of being recruited, as well as providing ongoing support once in the workplace to enable the young people to develop.

The Government is committed to supporting care leavers with the challenging transition from care to independent adult life. In addition to its See Potential campaign, the Department for Work and Pensions also supports care leavers through a series of safeguards and easements aimed at simplifying and improving their interaction with the benefit system.

Justin Tomlinson MP said: “The talents of too many unemployed people are being overlooked, with many facing barriers to work. When young people like Taylor are given a little bit of extra support or advice, it’s inspiring what they are able to achieve. We’re encouraging businesses to do more to tap into the skills, experience and insight of a diverse workforce with our See Potential campaign and PGL is a great example of a business getting it right."

Taylor Dalzell, care-leaver and PGL employee said: “I had previous jobs after leaving care, but they were all dead-end. I went to PGL on a school trip as a kid and the chance to come and work here was absolutely amazing. I’ve made a community of friends here and there’s lots of opportunity to progress. I’m a catering assistant at the moment and am looking towards becoming a chef in a year or two.

Paul Flitney, PGL Recruitment Manager said: “We’re really proud to be recognised for our investment in our staff. The real PGL difference is in our people - we know how to bring out the best in young people and that’s not just limited to our guests. For many young people who have left care, getting a job can feel like a daunting step. We measure our successes by delivering an outstanding experience to our guests, and we do this by providing a safe, friendly working environment, to help our staff get the best start and to thrive in employment with PGL.”

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