Our ROOTS: Opportunities for Growth project was named winner of COSLA’s Chairperson’s Award for 2022.
The yearly COSLA awards recognise areas of best practice and innovative service delivery across Scottish 32 councils and North Lanarkshire Council’s People and Organisational Development team came out on top!
Created for care experienced young people, our ‘ROOTS: Opportunities for Growth’ Programme supports them to gain and sustain a positive destination.
It creates 12-month long flexible placement opportunities either with the council or our partners and provides individual support before, during and after the programme. We create a bespoke learning and development package to allow young people to be work ready.
To date, 73 young people have commenced profiling, 35 have gained placements with the Roots programme and 15 have secured employment.
Donella Duff, Supported Enterprise Manager, said: “Young people who are experiencing care (looked after) and care-experienced young people (care leavers) are at risk of leaving school with lower attainment and qualifications than their peers. The Scottish Care Leavers Covenant highlights that access to the employment market can be more challenging for care leavers and they should receive additional support to gain and sustain employment. As a result of the evidence, we pledged to address the barriers that these young people experience and our ROOTS programme does just that.
“We work within the foundations of ‘The Promise’ which reflects the care experiences of 5,500 children, young people and adults outlining what must be done to make sure our most vulnerable children feel loved and have the childhood they deserve.
“This is just one example of the excellent work being delivered across the council to provide support to those who need it most and I'm delighted our project has been recognised by COSLA.”
Our programme has seen young people move into sustained, paid employment and is changing and improving lives and future prospects. We’ve received very positive feedback from people taking part in the programme and from services and staff involved.
Not all young people secure a positive destination when they come to the end of the programme. However, we continue to offer arm’s length support for as long as they need or signpost them to other services, such as Supported Employment or Routes to Work.