John Lewis Partnership aims to be employer of choice for young people leaving care system
The John Lewis Partnership has announced plans for it to become the employer of choice for young people leaving the care system.
With over 108,000 children in care across the UK today, the retailer said they are three times less likely to be in education, employment or training by the time they reach 19 than their peers. It also highlights how young people who have been in care are a third more likely to be made homeless than to go to university.
The John Lewis Partnership said the move has been inspired by Timpsons and its employment of ex-offenders.
In the last 18 months, the retailer has been working with councils and charities in Manchester, Birmingham, London, Nottingham and Essex to provide training and employment in John Lewis and Waitrose stores to young people who have been in care.
While saying it is still early days, it has created a ‘Building Happier Futures’ employment programme, which will see it employing more care experienced people in more parts of the country. This could eventually extend to launching dedicated apprenticeships for care leavers and the offer of financial support to pursue further or higher education.
Speaking at the Bloomberg Equality Summit yesterday, Sharon White, John Lewis Partnership chairman, said: “Thousands of young people with potential are being overlooked in the national conversation and that urgently needs to change. The John Lewis Partnership from its very foundations has always had a strong social purpose – providing healthcare before the NHS.
“We want over time to become the employer of choice for young people leaving the care system. We know they make fantastic partners (employees) and we can in turn provide the opportunity for meaningful work and the chance to progress.
“We would love to join forces with other businesses wishing to recruit so we can help more young people.”