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Council takes a step in the right direction; WALES TRAINING AWARD WINNER.

Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Council certainly took a 'Step in the Right Direction' when it launched a unique programme to help young people leaving care to develop the skills, knowledge and experience to find work.

Introduced in 2005, 'Step in the Right Direction' provides real employment opportunities for six young people leaving care every year in Rhondda Cynon Taff. During the two-year development programme, they learn about the council's work and gain valuable work experience.

The success of the scheme has now on the council a ales Training Award in the large employer category. This follows last year's success in winning a Social Care Accolade from the Care Council for Wales. The scheme is now being used as a role model for other local authorities across the country to follow.

Of the 14 trainees supported since the programme's inception, seven have secured fulltime or temporary employment, with a further five actively involved in work placements. Trainees are given a range of work placements with the council to find the job best suited to them.

Programme co-ordinator Darren Notley said the trainees, staff and council had all benefited from the programme.

"The chances of young people in public care making the successful transition from dependency to self-reliance are reduced by the exceptional demands and expectations placed upon them before they are ready," he explained.

"Recent research has shown that the employment rate amongst care leavers is significantly higher than their peers in the general population of 16-24-year-olds and this is reflected locally, where until 2005 very few care leavers were employed within Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Council."

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Step in the Right Direction programme co-ordinator Darren Notley of RCT Council
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Oct 30, 2008
Words:282
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