Blog: Aisha’s Visit to No.10

‘Aisha, YPBMF Champion was invited to 10 Downing Street during National Care Leavers Weeks, here’s a blog with her reflections.’

Recently, I was invited to attend a care leavers celebration event, at number 10 Downing Street, during care leavers week. I’m a care experienced person and I currently have a placement on the care leavers internship scheme. I was invited to attend, which was a great honor, which of course I accepted.

What was the Event For?

The event itself, was a session for government ministers to give thanks to the care leavers that currently work within the civil service, and those on the internship scheme. To acknowledge our achievements, and to listen to our own individual stories, but also to give us the opportunity to network to gain ideas on how we can shape our future careers.

I was fortunate enough to take my manager along with me to the event, which made it so much more enjoyable. The event gave my manager the opportunity to learn more about care leavers, and why it is so important that opportunities like the care leavers internship scheme are available to care leavers.

Stigmatisation in The World of Work

Care leavers are identified as coming from a more disadvantaged background, and when that stigmatisation is applied to each child in the care system and care leaver, their chances of success are lowered. Why is that you might be thinking? Well I can delve a little deeper into this.

Imagine right now, your manager continuously tells you that you are not good enough, that you cant do something, that even when you struggle with your identity your manager doesn’t support you, doesn’t listen to you. Your manager doesn’t try to understand you or why you may act a certain way, why you may struggle with certain tasks, or may have struggles with certain triggers. You end up feeling like you are drowning because you believe you can’t do something, because you are not supported, you are not listened to, you are not recognised for who you are and how you practice in your role, you would feel like you are sinking to the bottom of the ocean.

From my own experiences and others that I have supported in my previous work roles, I can clearly state that what I have just described are the feelings that a lot of us will identify with. Care leavers are much more than just young people that are leaving a care system, we are people with a particular set of life skills that others from different backgrounds may not have gained, we are strong, we are powerful, and we are wanted.

What did I gain from the Event?

Going to number 10 gave me the opportunity to talk to ministers and other important people at the head of government, about the importance of schemes like the internship, but also the encouragement of ensuring other schemes and opportunities is created for care leavers to encourage them to get into work or education and to encourage them to believe in themselves.

We heard from 2 speakers that had previously been on the internship scheme and they had both been offered permanent roles after their completion, both speakers were empowering, they described how just that one opportunity had changed and turned their lives around for the better. Hearing how they both didn’t quite know where they belonged or what to do for work to now being in positions they could never have dreamed of.

Ministers gave talks about the government’s future development for care leavers and the implementation of opportunities and to ensure that equal opportunities are available to all. The encouragements of large-scale businesses to employ care leavers and to give care leavers the choice about their futures and to not be defined to just being a care leaver but to be a human being that can and will achieve.

My Reflections

I hope, that from events and opportunities like this, ministers will have the opportunity to see the change that is happening slowly but surely. Eventually it will give care leavers better options in their lives and help ministers understand, from our perspectives, the areas that do require change. We hope they will see the importance of this, and how the change in different areas will benefit the future generation of children in care and care leavers.

Overall, the day was incredibly inspiring, and made me want to continue my journey, to keep achieving and aspiring other care leaver that they are wanted and that they can achieve their wildest of dreams.