Stoke on Trent College student Brooke Chomyn
Brooke Chomyn, left, pictured with Unitas Stoke-on-Trent's Rachel Forster.

Brooke Chomyn: Breaking Barriers – my journey as a ‘Care Leavers Legacy’ Apprentice

2 mins read

During National Apprenticeship Week, Stoke on Trent College has been celebrating students it has supported, highlighting the incredible opportunities the apprenticeship pathway presents and how it can help employers develop a workforce with future-ready skills.

Here, Brooke Chomyn – a Business Administration Apprentice at Unitas, who is studying at the College, has written a blog talking about the transformative impact on her life.

“Unitas, as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility have a project called the ‘Care Leavers Legacy’, designed to support children in the care system by providing temporary positions within the business as a stepping stone towards more permanent roles. 

An Apprenticeship at Unitas under the ‘Care Leavers Legacy’ is not just a job for me; it’s a lifeline, a real chance at a positive future.

In this blog piece I share my personal experiences of the challenges faced by care leavers like myself, the positive impact of Unitas’ initiative, and how this unique opportunity is helping to shape my future.

The Struggle for Care Leavers:

Care leavers often find themselves in a minority when it comes to accessing Higher Education or securing an Apprenticeship.

Only 6% of care leavers go on to Higher Education and they are 8 times less likely to get an Apprenticeship. 

The lack of a ‘normal’ life and the transition out of care makes it challenging to focus on building a successful future.  

For many care leavers, myself included, becoming successful is often the last thing on our mind, making the road to success longer and more difficult for us compared to others.  Some care leavers have to withdraw from any sort of profession due to the impact of having been a child in care.

Discovering the ‘Care Leavers Legacy’:

What sets Unitas apart is its commitment to actively engage with the Stoke Children in Care Team. Regular meetings not only allow for open discussion about challenges faced by care leavers but also enables improvements in the support provided. This is a reflection of Unitas’ dedication to making a real, lasting impact on the lives of care leavers.

Overcoming Challenges:

The ‘Care Leavers Legacy’ acknowledges that care leavers may not be immediately ‘work-ready.’ The unique struggles we face require a personal approach, understanding that for us success is a journey. Unitas recognises this and aims to create an environment where care leavers can thrive, breaking free from the limitations imposed by circumstances outside our control – opening up a lot of doors and opportunities.

My Personal Journey:

Being the first care leaver accepted into Unitas under this initiative fills me with pride and gratitude, it really means so much to me. The support I’ve received has been amazing, giving me confidence and belief in my potential. While my personal journey has not been without its challenges, I feel fortunate compared to other children in care.

A Catalyst for Change:

Unitas’ ‘Care Leavers Legacy’ is not just about me – it will positively impact the lives of other care leavers in the future too. By offering opportunities and breaking down barriers Unitas is contributing to a better and more hopeful future for care leavers like me.

As I continue my Apprenticeship journey as a Business Admin Apprentice I am filled with optimism. I am proud to be part of this legacy, paving the way for a brighter future.”

Nigel Pye

Experienced journalist with a 30-year career in the newspaper and PR industry and a proven record for breaking stories for the national and international press. Nigel is the Editor of Daily Focus and Head of Creative at i-creation. Other work includes scriptwriting, magazine and video production, crisis communications and TV and radio broadcasts.

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