Tyler: Kickstart Scheme reflections
Somerset County Council have been able to over 50 job placements for 16 to 24 year olds on Universal Credit through the new national Kickstart Scheme. The new programme offers young people a 6 month placement, paid at national minimum wage for 25 hours a week.
The kickstart placement I have been lucky enough to be a part of, has greatly benefitted the outlook I had on a workplace. Not only has it given me the opportunity to have a job (which I was beginning to think of as impossible after so much rejection), but it’s also given me the opportunity to enjoy what I do and develop myself in the meantime.
I began the scheme receiving universal credit while trying to find work. Due to the pandemic, it was becoming increasingly difficult (and heart breaking) just to get a rejection letter back from jobs I didn’t even like the thought of. Thanks to the support of the Job Centre, I was able to call in to the kickstart job fair and found myself putting my name forward for two exciting sounding opportunities. One of which (a water lab) I was fortunate enough to be called back by. This led to an interview. An interview that went surprisingly well considering it was my first in so long and I had little to no scientific knowledge, apart from the morsels I clung on to from physics classes at school. They invited me to start my placement 2 weeks after. I was already pleased with the success of kickstart for giving me the ability to find myself in an interview for a job I was interested in, and only within a couple weeks of the scheme being mentioned. The support offered was comforting and I was even extended optional practice interviews. All this extra help did not go unnoticed and was certainly very welcome.
Gladly, despite my natural anxiety the start of my employment went very well albeit slightly overwhelming. I was instantly welcomed and made to feel comfortable by the whole team who have been excellent in teaching me the basics with patience and at my own pace. The reason this scheme is successful, in my opinion, is the fact that it gives those who are a bit lost with their professional lives, the opportunity to be enrolled in placements they never would’ve pictured themselves working and thriving in. For me personally, I never expected to be working in a lab, with analysts wearing lab coats, learning about science daily and being excited to learn more and gain more responsibility. Whether this enthusiasm or the actual employment continues, isn’t completely relevant as I’ve already benefited by finding a new field of work to be passionate and interested in learning about.
Another benefit is the immediacy of the councils support and resources available to further progress in your workplace, external life, wellbeing and just general employability. The courses, advice and resources offered are extremely useful and if inclined to use them, makes it easier for an individual to grow.
Do you know someone who would benefit from the Kickstart Scheme?
We still have placements available, so if you know of any young people who would benefit from the scheme, please encourage them to speak to their Work Coach at their local Job Centre who will be able to give them more information about all our available placements and how to apply.