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Service user

"My first week of work is complete – it has been really good, better than expected with lots to learn."

To protect identities, images are not specific to the stories but are of others involved with Catch22.

At the time of his referral, Karl was attending college studying for A Levels in Business Studies, Sociology and Media Studies, but his study was disrupted by the pandemic and as he studies from home, his life became increasingly unsettled. Karl moved to a new house four times during 2020, and the Bright Light team had to adapt to new ways of working with service users at the time – from face-to-face sessions and workshops, support moved to phone calls, texts, and video calls.

From day one, Karl was eager to work with his Bright Light Career Coach. He was supported with CV reviews and adjustments, and help with writing a cover letter, while he registered with online jobsites. With increasing confidence and prepared with his updated documents, Karl applied for several Business Administration apprenticeships offered through Bright Light’s partnerships – from the British Library and Civil Service Internships, through to ITV and NatWest apprenticeships, he had options in front of him.

After a period of back and forth with other applications, Karl applied for the Business Administration Level 3 apprenticeship with the London Borough of Enfield. The application was in-depth, with practical elements involved which he had never come across before. Additionally, as he reached interview stage, he required work clothing and encountered travel expenses. He returned to his Bright Light Career Coach for further support – together they worked on mock interviews, Karl received financial support for both appropriate interview attire and travel expenses, and they worked together to ease increasing nerves as he progressed through the application process. Karl was successful in securing the role and started his apprenticeship with Enfield in December 2020.

The Bright Light Career Coach continues to have monthly check-ins with Karl, and is on call for the first 12 months of his apprenticeship, should any issues arise for either him or his employer. But for now, both Karl and his employer are thrilled with the placement.

Andrea, who works at the London Borough of Enfield, said:

“Karl’s Bright Light Coach, Maggie, takes a flexible, negotiated approach to contact time and meetings, which means that she has able to engage with our young people.

Unlike other services, the way that Bright Light provides young people with education, employment, and training opportunities that are readily accessible and available, has been crucial and is key to the ongoing success taking place.”

Speaking about his experience, Karl said:

“Thank you for all the help Maggie. My first week of work is complete – it has been really good, better than expected with lots to learn. I’m looking forward to next week! Honestly it’s been so easy, I’m so happy I chose this one out of the three options you gave me. And I can’t thank you both enough.”

Karl is also an active member of the Bright Light Expert Youth Panel, continuing to help develop and evolve the Bright Light programme.

About Bright Light

Bright Light focusses on getting care leavers into apprenticeships. It is a pilot delivered by Catch22 and The Children’s Society, funded by The Clothworkers Foundation, and aims to develop an understanding of the barriers associated with getting vulnerable groups into apprenticeships, while developing solutions, sharing learnings and influencing national policy.

Few projects focus on this difficult point of transition – when young people leave the care system – to offer full wraparound support, stretching across their immediate needs, mental and emotional needs and their route into employment. While offering this, Bright Light explores what more is needed to support care leavers into independence – and the systemic barriers that impact on this.

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