Despite a childhood spent in care, Emma concentrated on her studies and gained entry into university where she continued to prosper. Like many young people who have left University with an excellent degree, she is finding it hard to get a job. However, since joining Drive Forward and benefiting from our corporate partnerships, she is feeling more positive about the future.

“Being a care leaver is very challenging. Sometimes finding a job or achieving your career goals feels impossible. At times life is not easy or you feel your past holds you back and you need some extra help. Other people get this from their mum and dad, who are there for them every day. I don’t have anyone at home so I am very grateful to Drive Forward for their support.”

Emma joined Drive Forward shortly before graduating with a first-class honours degree in maths and statistics. Keen to carve out a career in the financial sector, she was particularly looking for help to improve her CV and get better prepared for interviews but was also encouraged to take part in personal development sessions.

It is the opportunity to meet employers and that Emma thinks is making the biggest difference.

Emma currently works part-time in a retail management role and is being supported in her efforts to become an actuary; something she has her heart set on. Drive Forward has a wide range of partnerships with companies across London, including with a number of large financial institutions. The short term work placements, work experience and internships help to develop a young person’s experience and build their confidence.

Emma has spent time with staff and managers from some of the most successful businesses in the capital. She has completed a two-month internship with an equity broker and investment company, and more recently took part in an Aim Higher Day hosted by staff from Lloyds Banking Group.

She said: “Working as a Finance Assistant I processed invoices, managed expenses and reconciled accounts; it gave me excellent experience that I have been able to include on my CV and this can only help with my job applications. If it wasn’t for Drive Forward I wouldn’t have met some of the corporate people I have met or had the benefit of their advice. I have even got to speak to one of the Directors of Lloyds; not many people get that sort of opportunity.”