A WOMAN who was previously in foster care has praised Wigan council’s Confident Futures scheme after winning an award in her new job.

Kayleigh Clark, 23, has spoken about how the council’s scheme for care leavers has been instrumental in giving her the skills and confidence to succeed.

Last month Kayleigh won the Apprentice of the Year award at Wigan and Leigh Homes, a position the Confident Futures scheme helped her attain.

Kayleigh said: “When I first started on Confident Futures I was really shy. I didn’t really speak. Now I’m far more confident.

“I answer the phones and work with the tenancy officers and tenants. There’s no way I would have even been able to do that at the start.”

Around 10,000 people aged 16-18 leave care in England every year, according to the government’s care leaver strategy 2013.

Since 2014, 75 care leavers have taken part in the Confident Futures scheme, with 20 of those having gained access to an apprenticeship.

The scheme provides young people not in employment or education with work experience and six weeks of classroom learning.

Kayleigh was able to improve her skills in Maths, English and ICT, before securing a 12 month apprenticeship at Wigan and Leigh Homes.

Having entered foster care aged 12, Kayleigh is now able to look forward and focus on developing a career in the housing sector.

She said: “I’m hoping to stay with tenancy management and stay with Wigan and Leigh Homes. It’s a good opportunity and a future career for me.”

Kayleigh was recognised for being a “highly regarded and professional member of the tenancy services team” by Wigan and Leigh Homes.

Councillor David Molyneux, Wigan Council’s cabinet member for regeneration, said: “Despite the severe reductions in funding from central Government over the past five years Wigan Council is committed to giving our young people a bright future.

“This is especially important for young people who have faced adversity and challenges in their early life.”

A full press release can be found: here. For more in formation regarding apprenticeships, visit: http://www.apprenticeships.gov.uk/

By Thom Whyte

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