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Watch: Fostering a work ethic for youths at a crossroads

The President's Trust is reaching out to youth in out-of-home-care

Video: Jonathan BorgVideo: Jonathan Borg

Her last day in out-of-home care was approaching, but 17-year-old Ritianne* had not yet found employment, despite enrolling in training schemes and embarking on a job-hunting spree.

The young woman was at a crossroads. In six months she would be leaving the children’s home to face a new world, and that is where the President’s Trust stepped in.

The Employment Initiative is one of the Trust’s first projects, aimed at reaching out to disadvantaged young people who are continuously falling out of safety nets when it comes to training and employment. These include those in out-of-home-care or youth with learning difficulties.

The initiative targets young people who have attended training courses or enrolled for other schemes but still remained unemployed.

The programme is customised, and a substantial part of the process revolves around learning about the participants’ aspirations, skills and challenges, the President’s Trust director Sarah Bondin told the Times of Malta.

The volunteer takes on the role of an older sibling

Through the scheme, the young woman has learnt to curb her impulsive character and is settling down in her current job.

Driven by the satisfaction she gains from her new responsibilities and routine, she is “determined to start her new life as an adult”.

President’s Trust director Sarah Bondin and Ritianne (left). Photo: Jonathan BorgPresident’s Trust director Sarah Bondin and Ritianne (left). Photo: Jonathan Borg

The Trust seeks the assistance of potential employers, and participants are offered the support of an adult volunteer mentor who is trained to build a healthy professional relationship with the youth and remains their contact person throughout the process.

In her case, Ritianne secured her new job all on her own – from looking out for vacancies and sitting down for the interview.

Although she has been working for some months now, she still keeps in touch with Ms Bondin.

“For mentoring, the volunteer takes on the role of an older sibling who is there whenever the participants need to voice their concern about some difficulty.

“The mentor is neither a councillor nor a social worker and most of the time we do not speak about work during our weekly meetings.”

The Trust collaborates with the Malta Association for Supported Employment, which provides soft skills training, such as employability and responsibility skills.

It has just signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Malta Employers Association and a separate one with Michael Evans – a chartered fellow and graduate of the United Kingdom’s Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

Those interested in enrolling as a volunteer can get in touch on info@presidentstrust.org.mt  or 2122 1221.

*name has been changed

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