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COVID-19 has led to a high unemployment rate with many people losing their jobs, or subject to continued furlough and this has particularly impacted younger people. In Summer 2020, the UK Government announced the Kickstart Scheme, funding six-month job placements for young people aged 16-24 who are currently on Universal Credit.

Living Well Consortium has been successful with the scheme offering 38 job placements across the Consortium membership to young people which are taking place in 2021-2022.

My Experience as a Kickstarter at Living Well

Rachelle Elliot

After graduating from University, I struggled to find a job. After applying to the Kickstarter scheme, I joined Living Well Consortium.  I applied for the data assistant role and within a few days they got back to me for an interview.  I was lucky enough to be offered the role to which I accepted. This role allowed me to ease into working life as a graduate and gave me the experience in working life.

My first impression of this organization was very welcoming.  Everyone was friendly, helpful, and supportive.  Eight months later I have now finished my Kickstarter role and I can still say everyone is the same. I was treated like a proper employee, enjoying the benefits the same as the full-time employees, such as having staff lunches and more.

The Kickstart role gave me a chance to use my knowledge and further my training in my interest (Data Analysis).  As a Psychology graduate it also allowed me to learn what goes on behind the scenes of a Mental Health organization and what goes into these services.  I enjoy contributing my skills to this organization, doing my part.

- Rachelle, Kickstarter at Living Well 2022

Sohail Hussain

My name is Sohail Hussain, in August 2021 I joined Living Well Consortium as a Finance Assistant in a Kickstarter role. 5 months later, I got promoted to a full-time permanent position as a Finance Officer.

I decided to apply for a kickstart role as I felt it was a good opportunity for me to gain valuable experience, during a time when many companies paused hiring due to the pandemic. I graduated from university in the summer of 2020, when England was in its first lockdown. Fair to say that it was a difficult situation for graduates looking for their first opportunity in the professional workplace. In the meantime I was applying for various graduate roles, I took the opportunity to develop my professional experience by doing 6 months voluntary role at a local accounting firm. Shortly after finishing my voluntary work, I've been introduced to the Kickstart scheme, a 6-month government-funded placement for young people.

LWC was a company which stood out to me, a not-for-profit organisation made up of 30 consortium members, providing a range of support to provide better mental health and wellbeing to the residents of Birmingham and Solihull. I knew the work I would do would have a positive impact on the community.

My responsibility in this role has increased since I got promoted. As a Finance Officer, I work alongside our Finance Director managing the financial activity in the group. Including financial reporting, external audit, month-end management accounts, sales invoicing and more. Also, LWC supports my studies to become a fully qualified chartered accountant with ACCA. Overall, I am pleased with my career progression in this role. Working for LWC has presented many opportunities to develop my knowledge, skills and experience. I feel that my progress is on track to reach my future career goals.

There were a few ups and downs on my journey before landing the opportunity to join LWC as a Kickstarter. From dealing with the COVID outbreak during my final semester in university to getting married during the pandemic. These experiences have taught me resilience, dedication, and patience.

A little insight into my personal life, I enjoy playing and watching football, travelling, nature walks and spending time with my family.

- Sohail, Kickstarter at Living Well 2022

Hitam Hassan

The pandemic hit in 2020 which had an impact on recent graduates. Applying for jobs was not easy, so I started to rethink my career options and decided to take a break. I then discovered the Kickstart Scheme and had a brilliant work coach. The application process was easy. The interview process was not as scary. Starting a new job can be nerve-wracking!

I went to a breakfast meeting in the local park with others, Living Well line managers, and staff on my first day. We played ice breaker games which were such fun and helped us start conversations and get to know each other.

Working as a Project Assistant for Living Well, I had the opportunity to help with various tasks. I produced content for social media, newsletters, and blogs. I also attended events and workshops. I participated in training and continued development as agreed with my Line Manager. For example, I attended Mental Health First Aid training and received a certificate. I got to discover what I am good at and what I needed to work on. I loved the team; they were always supportive.

I am grateful to have worked with such a wonderful group of people. I appreciate the time they spent mentoring me and helping me to grow my skills. The Kickstart scheme has given me the chance to improve myself as an employee. I have gained the confidence to apply for jobs. It is a great opportunity for young people. I have enjoyed my placement at Living Well and cannot recommend the scheme enough!

- Hitam, Kickstarter at Living Well 2021

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