Alex started living in care when he was 7.

By the age of 17 he faced an uncertain future; he had moved foster carers twice, had very low self-esteem and confidence and found it difficult to interact with people. Like many other young people in care, he left school with low GSCE grades. He said “I didn’t do too well at school and then when I left didn’t want to do college. I ended up not doing much in the day. I didn’t see a future”.

Alex didn’t have the skills that an employer would need but his foster career had offered him the chance to stay on in his foster home if he started an apprenticeship and so getting into employment was crucial to keeping a roof over his head.

To increase his chance of getting work, Alex joined Brathay’s “Get Real” programme for care leavers. The programme focused on personal development and linked this to employment skills. Over the ten week course Alex became a vital member of the team and his confidence grew.

At the end of the programme there was a six week work placement; Alex’s was at a warehousing company. His employer was impressed with his hard work and Alex successfully progressed onto an apprenticeship.

Since becoming a “Get Real Graduate” Alex has volunteered to come back and speak to other groups, something that he would never have had the confidence to do before. By securing an apprenticeship Alex also stabilised his living arrangements and he can plan for his future.

Alex said:

The Get Real programme really changed things for me; it meant I had something to look forward to and I knew that if I tried hard there would be something at the end of it. I met new people and did loads of stuff that I didn’t think I could do. I’d recommend anyone to do it if they get chance.

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