Kickstart is a government initiative that provides funding to create new jobs for 16-24 year old’s on Universal Credit who are at risk of long term unemployment. So far, we have employed 12 young people in meaningful roles including Community Coaches, Business Administration Assistants, Assistant Education Tutors, a Media & Marketing Assistant, and we have just employed a young person into the role of Assistant Health & Wellbeing Officer.
At the end of their 6 month placement two of our Kickstarters were rewarded with full time positions. Both joined us as Business Administration Assistants and have now secured the following roles: Insight & Impact Officer (Zoe Cornell) and Project & Admin Support Officer (Aaron Gold).
Zoe Cornell – Insight & Impact Officer
Zoe finished university in September 2020 where she received a BSc and MSc in Psychology. After completing her studies, she was working a part time job whilst searching for full time employment. She left her job due to COVID safety concerns and signed up to Universal Credit as we entered lockdown which made finding employment increasingly difficult.
Zoe heard about the Kickstart scheme from a job centre work coach and applied for the role of Business Administration Assistant. Zoe said, ‘After researching the trust I thought it would be a rewarding organisation to join’.
Throughout her placement Zoe was flexible in her approach to work and efficient in her support, when I asked her what elements of the job role did you enjoy the most? Zoe replied, ‘the ability to take on a variety of tasks which kept the days interesting’.
Zoe mentioned that participating in the Kickstart scheme gave her confidence and experience in a different sector. She said she would highly recommend the scheme to others saying, ‘It provides a great opportunity to find employment when current entry level jobs are asking for years of previous experience’.
Whilst working alongside Zoe we quickly realised we could utilise a number of skills she developed throughout her university studies, especially around insight and impact. This is an area we have highlighted ourselves as needing to improve so with Zoe now on board with a specific focus we will look to increase the coverage of projects with a real emphasis on the impact they are having on the participants.
Aaron Gold – Project & Admin Support Officer
Let’s hear from Aaron:
‘Before joining the kickstart scheme I was out of work in part due to covid related reasons but primarily because of the lack of experience that I had in an office-based environment. I had worked briefly in a variety of companies, but they never really clicked with me and helped me go in the direction that I wanted to go in. Therefore, when I heard about this scheme, I became very interested at the prospect of gaining experience whilst also being supported to reach my own personal goals.
I first heard about this scheme when talking to my work coach about potential jobs that I could do. They were listing a few out and we stumbled across the role I am now in by chance as it seemed to spark an interest in myself. I applied almost immediately, gained an interview shortly after and finally the job soon after that. The whole process was over and done with in well under a month or so.
I think the main thing that I enjoyed as part of this role was somewhat unrelated to the work and more towards the people. I find sometimes when I go into a new job its somewhat hard for me to settle and feel welcomed but from day one, I could see that the whole team really helped integrate me into the group. After that happened everything else became so much easier to do. I go into work with a smile on my face most days because I enjoy my work which can’t be said for most people in most jobs. I also enjoy the variety of work that I am given. Of course, there will always be those mundane office-based tasks which need to be done (which I have no objection doing at all) but I have also been given the opportunity to partake in various other tasks as well. Days out of the office supporting the ‘NCS events’ or helping run ‘Walking Football’ sessions spring to mind as key moments I enjoyed.
Throughout the six months that I have been working at Southend United Community & Educational Trust (SUCET) I think that my overall confidence has improved significantly. I may not show it all the time, but I can sometimes be quite shy. However, being in this role has helped me come out my shell and express myself to others in a way that I couldn’t do in any of the previous roles that I had been in. For that I am thankful for the team at SUCET. From a career standpoint I think that my general office-based skills have improved tenfold as well as refining any rough edges that I did have coming into the position (such as not knowing how to scan a document to someone!). I also think that learning some new systems and software was always a bonus, especially when nowadays almost every business has some form of software-based programme they regularly use. It really helped me challenge myself to learn quickly and adapt on the go. Finally, I think that, although not perfected, my phone call skills have improved. Having previously worked in a call centre I thought that answering calls and assisting people over the phone would come somewhat naturally to me- It didn’t. I had to learn how to best interact with people and assist them. This has taken some time, but I certainly think I’m in a better position now to when I started.
If I had to choose a single word to sum up my experience on the Kickstart programme at SUCET I think it would have to be ‘rewarding’. From meeting new people and making new friends, to expanding my knowledge and bettering my skills I think these six months I have spent at SUCET have been simply put ‘rewarding’. And it is because of those very reasons that I would recommend the kickstart programme to any young person looking to gain some experience and enjoy the process whilst doing so’.