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GRAHAM-Bam giving Care Leavers a Foot Up

GRAHAM-Bam Healthcare Partnership (GBHP) has become one of the first employers in Northern Ireland to introduce 'Buy Social' social clauses aimed specifically at young people who are in, or leaving, care.

Through the initiative, young care leavers will be able to gain apprenticeships or paid employment with GRAHAM-Bam and its supply chain. Visiting the Ulster Hospital redevelopment project, Gary Cooper, Belfast Trust Employability Worker at Include Youth, said:

"Young people in or leaving care are particularly vulnerable to poor educational outcomes and unemployment. By creating opportunities through work tours and social clauses Graham-BAM is leading the way in redressing the high levels of unemployment among care leavers.

"Include Youth has been raising the employment needs of young people in care for decades, most recently with our independent Project 100 research highlighting how 100 per cent employment opportunities for young people in care could be achieved.

"We firmly believe social clauses are an effective means of moving young people into employment and improving their personal wellbeing, so we are delighted that GRAHAM-Bam has introduced this initiative."

Almost 20 young care leavers engaged in the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust's Employability Service enjoyed a workplace tour of the Ulster Hospital redevelopment project, facilitated by GBHP Community Engagement Advisor Attracta Mathews. Gary adds:

"The young people, kitted out in steel toes caps, hard hats, safety glasses, gloves and high visibility vests, experienced first-hand the modern construction techniques involved and what it takes to work on a development project of that scale. Many of these young people don't have much experience of work and know very little about different jobs, so this was a great opportunity for them to learn more about the build and the employment and training opportunities offered by GRAHAM-Bam.

"We would like to thank Peter Reavey, Director of GRAHAM-Bam Healthcare Partnership (GBHP), John Wilson, GBHP Health and Safety Advisor, and the wider team for giving the young people we work with a chance to follow in their footsteps. We know young people in care want to work and will support GRAHAM-Bam in fulfilling its commitment to moving young care leavers into work."

Peter Reavey, Director of GBHP, said:

"Demand for construction workers is high and skills shortages are emerging, so it's important that we attract, train and retain the next generation of workers. GBHP is fully committed to delivering a significant pipeline of healthcare work in Northern Ireland, and in doing so, supporting young people from all backgrounds in the shaping of their career through access to a broad range of on-the-job- learning opportunities."

Hilary Walker, Children's Service Manager in the Belfast Trust and lead for Corporate Parenting Employability said:

"The Trust is delighted to see such a well- known firm as GRAHAM along with their JV Partners Bam leading the way in offering opportunities for employment for our young care leavers either through apprenticeships or paid employment. This initiative is most welcome and opens up another avenue for our young people to gain valuable training and experience in the work place, leading to improved employment outcomes for care leavers and increased employment opportunities in the construction industry."

ENDS

Media enquiries: for more information contact Sharon Whittaker, Communications Coordinator at Include Youth on 028 9031 1007 or sharon@includeyouth.org