John Lewis Partnership announces ambitions to hire over 300 care experienced young people by early 2025

  • New ambition launched during Foster care Fortnight (13-26 May)

  • Event held by Waitrose chefs to teach cookery skills to foster families

  • As part of the Partnership’s Building Happier Futures programme

The John Lewis Partnership has today (Wednesday 22 May) announced its ambition to hire more than 300 care experienced young people by January 2025 as part of its Building Happier Futures programme.

The Partnership has hired around 76 people with Care Experience backgrounds through the Building Happier Futures programme.

This new ambition coincides with the celebration of Foster Care Fortnight (13-26 May) run by The Fostering Network, highlighting the Partnership’s dedication to providing meaningful career opportunities for people with experience of the care system.

In support of Foster Care Fortnight, Waitrose chefs led a cooking masterclass for foster families at the Waitrose Kings Cross cookery school. The class aimed to offer a bonding experience as well as equip these young adults with essential culinary skills, promoting both independence and confidence.

During this hands-on session at the Kings Cross Cookery School, expert Waitrose Chefs Alex and Mary guided participants through a step-by-step tutorial on how to make a flatbread from scratch.

Sharon White, Chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, said:

“We are passionate about improving the lives of young care experienced people. That’s why we are running dedicated employability schemes, offering young people opportunities that, through no fault of their own, have been out of reach until now.

“This new ambition, as part of our Building Happier Futures programme, signals our commitment to help care experienced people gain skills and experience that sets them up in their careers.”

Gillian Keegan, Secretary of State for Education, said:

“Most of us would say there’s nothing more important to us than our family, but not everyone is as lucky as I was. Foster carers are remarkable people who bring children into safe and stable homes, giving them the security and love that only a family can provide. I’ve seen this firsthand, as someone with a number of foster carers in their family.

“As a Fostering Friendly Employer, John Lewis Partnership is doing brilliant work to remove barriers and provide meaningful career opportunities for care leavers.

“I hope this Foster Care Fortnight sparks more businesses to think about adopting similar initiatives, and would encourage anyone who’s been inspired to check out the Care Leaver Covenant for more information about how you can get involved.”

Sarah Thomas, Chief Executive of The Fostering Network, said:  

“The John Lewis Partnership continues to raise the bar for others to follow, through their Building Happier Futures Programme, leading the way as our largest Fostering Friendly employer and now with an ambition to recruit more than 300 care experienced young people by 2025.

“So often care experienced young people miss out on education and employment opportunities as they don’t always have the same family support system as those without care experience. This ambition from John Lewis opens up critical opportunities, levelling the playing field and providing the foundation for a positive future.”

This special event builds on the Partnership’s commitment to create meaningful connections and opportunities for care experienced young people. The Building Happier Futures programme, which forms part of the newly created John Lewis Partnership Foundation, has generated over £2m in funds thanks to our customers, suppliers and Partners.

These donations are split between charity partners, such as Action for Children, Who Cares? Scotland and Home-Start UK, who work tirelessly to continue the incredible work they do in helping families and carers create happy and secure homes, and provide opportunities for care experienced young people to connect and find friendship and belonging.

In January, the John Lewis Partnership announced a new tote bag designed by a care experienced student launched to inspire young people in the care system and raise more donations – the first in a range that aims to create opportunities for talented designers who are care experienced. The collaborative design-led project will see more products launch throughout 2024 and beyond.

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