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Amazon and Barnado’s launch programme to help young care leavers into work

Amazon and Barnardo’s have unveiled a partnership to support 500 young people by 2025. The organisations say that more young people leaving care will have the opportunity to sign up to a bespoke programme aimed at tackling barriers to work.

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Amazon and Barnado's JOBS project

Amazon and Barnardo’s have launched their JOBS (Journey of Becoming Successful) project which supports young people, many of whom are care experienced, develop the skills needed to secure work and develop their careers.

The aim is to help prepare young people (aged 18-29) who are not in education, employment or training (NEET) and follows successful pilot schemes at Amazon fulfilment centres, which has seen 83% of participants finish the course and secure full-time work or a return to education.

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In addition to the four pilot locations at Tilbury, Gateshead, Coventry and Dartford, launches will take place in Greater Manchester, Dunfermline and Swansea in 2023. A further three locations will be announced in 2024. That means by 2025 the partnership will have helped a total of 500 young people since the JOBS Project began.

Cheyenne, who has been part of the pilot programme, spoke about the support she received and impact it had made on her life.

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She said: “Before joining the Barnardo’s JOBS Project, finding a job felt impossible, but after joining the programme it felt possible again. What I love about the programme is how I talk to people I never would have spoken to before. There’s also finally a feeling of something resembling a future with a job.

“Being told how people can see a change in me over the last few weeks makes me feel like I’m finally able to be someone that can do something with their life. I honestly feel that I can finally do things in my life that I want to do, and not be held back by the lack of money. There’s a weight lifted off my chest, and I know now that I can do the things I thought I could never do before.”

Barnardo’s CEO, Lynn Perry MBE, said: “The cost-of-living crisis means that many more children and young people are growing up in poverty and missing out on opportunities, which affects their future prospects. We are delighted that through our partnership with Amazon, we can now help even more young people across the UK to build routes into employment and education within their local community thanks to the expansion of our JOBS Project.”

Amazon’s UK country manager John Boumphrey said: “I am exceptionally proud of our partnership with Barnardo’s. We believe in the potential of all young people, and know that Amazon is a place their careers can start, grow and thrive. Working alongside Barnardo’s we have seen the programme grow from strength to strength and, most importantly, it’s having an incredible impact on the lives of young people.

“This initiative is unique in the level of support it provides and I am immensely proud of both the young people themselves and of our Amazon team which is making great strides to improve and expand its reach.”

Over 40 per cent of young people leaving care are classified as NEET and face a wide range of issues including self-harm, homelessness, mental health, debt and money management, self-esteem, ADHD, and autism, as well as young people caring for parents.

Amazon funds 10 weeks of pre-employment training for candidates with the aim of a permanent job at the company or another employer at the end of the course. The JOBS Project focuses on building up the confidence, mental and physical health, and skills of young people to enable them to achieve their full potential.

The JOBS Project has supported 65 young people since 2021. The participants came from a diverse range of backgrounds but have all have experienced challenges in their lives. Around 95% of participants in 2022 felt that, as well as employability skills, they had learned life skills that they can transfer into the world of work.

The course is designed to be more welcoming and informal than a school setting, which is an environment where many of these young people have struggled.

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