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National takeover day

Staffordshire Children in Care take the reins for national takeover day

Three Staffordshire care leavers have taken the reins in top Government departments as part of a national challenge to give young people a taste of how Government and business works.

The Department for Education, Department for International Development and Department for Culture Media and Sport opened their doors to the individuals from the county.

The Children’s Commissions Takeover Challenge asks businesses and organisations to put teenagers in charge of key roles for a day to hear their ideas and give them a chance to make a difference.  The programme aims to raise young people’s aspirations and help them develop their employability skills.

Jake, aged 20, living in Cannock, spent the day with Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Karen Bradley, at her constituency in Leek. Jake went on to attend Karen’s local MP’s surgery in the area, giving him the opportunity to better understand the diversity that comes with her dual role as an MP and Minister. Jake has faced many challenges both physically and emotionally and has spent most of his young years in the care of the County Council.

Bereket, aged 17, living in Newcastle under Lyme, toured the Department for Education with Director General Julia Chua. Bereket was also invited to No 10 Downing Street on the day as part of his Take Over experience, as well as taking part in a number of meetings alongside Julia.

Bereket came to Staffordshire in July 2015 as an unaccompanied asylum seeker.  Bereket could speak very little English when he came to Britain and is now doing very well. He is currently at college studying for his GCSE’s. He has also completed the National Citizenship Service course and was keen to discuss with Julia his experiences of this and the benefits gained for any young people who partake.

Bereket said:

“The take over day experience was amazing. The opportunity to go to London and spend the day with Julia at the DfE was really interesting. The highlight for me was getting to go inside No 10 Downing Street.  I would recommend any other young person to take an opportunity like the one I have had.”

Sakawt, 17, living in Newcastle under Lyme, spent a day at the Department for International Development in London with Rory Stewart OBE MP on Wednesday 14 December. He was matched to this opportunity due to personal experiences and an unwavering drive to support other young people coming from similar backgrounds.

The day itself saw Sakawt attending meetings alongside Rory and his Team which included a tour of The Houses of Parliament.

Sakawt said:

“I enjoyed the experience and it was amazing to meet the Minister. This was a good opportunity to see how the government are working. I would like to see the highest person like the Prime Minister one day. It was the first time I had been to London and I thought Big Ben was amazing. Rory was a very clever man and spoke Farsi to me. I had a picture with him and I will save this forever.”

Mark Sutton, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People at Staffordshire County Council said:

“The ‘Takeover is a really fun and exciting project that gets children in decision-making situations and encourages organisations and businesses to hear their views. Children gain a real insight into the adult world of work and what goes on.  Organisations and companies also benefit from the programme too, getting a fresh perspective about their work from young minds.

“I’m delighted that our young people got the chance to take part and I’m sure it is something that will help inspire them in their own career options and life.”

People can find out more about The Children’s Commissions Takeover Challenge at: