Greta Sherry, Dumfries & Galloway Council’s LAYP Programme

Dumfries & Galloway Council’s LAYP programme is designed to support the council’s Corporate Parenting responsibilities in assisting young people in or leaving care to gain skills for work.  This project recognises the employability journey that many of our looked after young people undertake on their way to paid, sustained employment and gives them the opportunity to undertake real work experience within the Council.

Over the next three years the project will support 24 looked after or leaving care young people into employment within the Council, for six month long placements at the living wage. During that time any particular barriers that they face to progression will be able to be addressed through funding that can be accessed to support their employability goals.

"Prior to joining the LAYP programme I had been unemployed for three years and had spent six months in a wheelchair. My health issues held me back from working which was really frustrating for me as I was eager to build my skills and get into employment.

When I walked past the DGTAP office I was really nervous on how they might judge me however they were extremely friendly and welcoming. I can’t stress enough how at ease they made me feel. After discussing the LAYP programme and going over the requirements I had a short interview and accepted onto the programme.

I was placed on the reception desk at Cargen Towers Business Park, where I currently conduct general administrative duties such as answering phone calls, supporting reception staff, expanding my knowledge on Excel and dealing with any mail we receive. Also one of the main duties as a receptionist with Dumfries and Galloway Council is to greet members of the public, staff and welcome new guests who come to Cargen Towers for meetings or events.

Being a front facing member of staff is something which gives me great satisfaction as I really enjoy the social aspect of working in a busy reception environment. Answering phone calls and dealing with people face to face would once have made me feel very anxious however now I have realised it is one of the most enjoyable aspects of the job. Talking to people on a variety of levels has built up my problem solving skills and ability to adapt to different situations. The level of support I have received has been phenomenal. Members of staff are always willing to guide me in the right direction and no question is too silly.

I really lacked confidence as i have dyslexia and didn’t think I would be able to do any of the administrative work myself. However Morag, my employability support worker, was really supportive and encouraged me to push through my barriers and anxieties surrounding the programme. Dumfries and Galloway council have been extremely helpful with my dyslexia and provided me with a coloured computer overlay which has been a great assistance. The programme has also benefited me profoundly. I am more confident now than I have ever been. The real benefit of this programme is not only the paid work experience but the skills I have developed over the past six months. I am far more employable and don’t shy away from interviews or things which intimidate me anymore.

In five to ten years’ time I see myself growing professionally and building my qualifications. I would rate the programme and DGTAP  a 10 out of 10! The programme gives a chance for young people coming out of care to further themselves and break the stigma associated with children in care. The support I have received from DGTAP has been outstanding."