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AUDIO: Care leaver climbs career ladder with Chinese scholarship

AUDIO: Care leaver climbs career ladder with Chinese scholarship

Published at 6:02pm 2nd August 2016. (Updated at 6:20pm 2nd August 2016)

One of North Yorkshire's care leavers is fulfilling her ambition to be an investment banker.

Rachel Malik has won a highly competitive scholarship from the Chinese government to study for a Masters degree in World Economics and Chinese Economic Development.

The 21-year-old came into the care of North Yorkshire County Council at the age of eight and has faced some very challenging times since then.

Nevertheless, as a young teenager, she developed a keen interest in banking and world economic affairs.

Originally from Glusburn, near Skipton, Rachel now lives in Haworth and will begin her Masters studies at Beijing Normal University in September.

It's the second time that she's secured a scholarship to study in China.

Rachel has chalked up a long line of impressive awards and internships since the age of 17.

After her GCSEs, she was selected to take part in J.P. Morgan's Aspiring Professionals Programme in 2012.

In 2015, she gained a summer internship at Silicon Valley Bank.

She also reached the top 10 in the Undergraduate of the Year: Future Business Leader Award 2016.

Rachel has paid particular tribute to Skipton Girls' High School, which took her on in the sixth form after she failed her AS-levels at her previous school.

She said: "I was going through a bad time when I took my AS-levels and I am so grateful to Skipton Girls' High and my care workers for believing in me and giving me the second chance to take my A-levels in one year."

Rachel has been telling Stray FM about her latest venture:

North Yorkshire County Council has been ahead of the game in its support for young people in the care system as they move into adult life.

It was one of the first authorities to enable them to remain with foster families until the age of 21 as part of a scheme called 'Staying Put' and to be supported by the leaving care team through education and training until the age of 25.

Young people in care who go on to higher education are supported by a key worker who will accompany them to university and visit as needed.

Kate Barraclough, a manager for North Yorkshire's Leaving Care Service, said: "Our ethos is that we don't want our young care leavers to be facing major milestones on their own - like turning up to halls of residence for the first time - unless they want to. They know the support is there when they need it. We have a very committed team.

"We want the young people in our care to achieve the best they can and that means giving them the right support at the right time. The nature of the support we give enables many of our care leavers to do very well and we are very proud of them."

All young people in care who attend university get a package of financial support from North Yorkshire amounting to £9,000 over three years, which is over four times the amount offered by many other authorities.

Rachel has already come to the attention of Isabelle Trowler, England's Chief Social Worker, who met her during a visit to North Yorkshire and sees her case as an outstanding example of what care leavers can achieve with the right support.

County Councillor Janet Sanderson, North Yorkshire's Executive Member for the Children and Young People's Service, said: "We are incredibly proud of Rachel's achievements. Rachel came under the care of North Yorkshire aged eight and has faced tough challenges in her life, but she has overcome these difficulties and we have worked with her to make sure she achieved her great potential.

"This is a fantastic opportunity for Rachel and a wonderful testament to her determination, courage and intelligence."

Before heading out to Beijing in September, Rachel has secured a summer placement funded by the British Council to study social entrepreneurship and social change in New Delhi.