The Change Foundation has always encouraged activities that help to drive young people toward a successful career path. Throughout our 40-years of work with young people we have seen a wave of young talent graduate into incredible careers after working with us. After the events of Covid-19 in 2020, the UK government rolled out a Kickstart careers programme. The employment scheme works with young people aged 16-24 and encourage businesses to employ them for a period of 6-months.
This opportunity has allowed The Change Foundation to share our expertise and experience with young people who are currently out of work and to get them on the career ladder. Over the past month we have employed three graduates and welcomed back TCF graduate Grace. They have all blown us away with their pre-existing expertise and experience. We wanted to share a bit more about their experiences of unemployment during pandemic and hear more about their feelings toward the Kickstart programme.
Emily Gaunt is an MSc graduate in Investigative and Forensic Psychology from Liverpool University. She recently joined our team as a Charity Support Officer. When discussing the Kickstart programme Emily shared: “I think the Kickstart programme is an excellent scheme for young people to get onto if they are struggling to find a job.” The third lockdown made job-seeking very difficult for Emily and the diluted job market left her questioning why she wasn’t being successful in her job applications. However, after joining our team and building up work experience, she now hopes to find success in future applications.
Emily said: “I am thankful that the programme will help to improve my chances of finding work in the future as I will be trained in writing eye-catching cover letters and job applications and will also gain valuable interview techniques.” Around 13.3% of young adults (UK) aged 18 – 24 were unemployed from January – March in 2021. For many young people including Emily being unemployed in lockdown was incredibly difficult.
Emily said: “I would find myself getting upset at not being able to find a job. I had come out of university with two degrees and with relevant work experience but was not even making it to the interview stage.” Interview feedback and rejection letters were apparently a rare outcome in Emily’s unsuccessful job applications. She expressed that a serious lack of feedback meant that it was difficult to identify where she was going wrong when applying for jobs. Since joining us Emily has become a dedicated and valued member of the team. Her incredible wealth of knowledge allows her to support our young people and colleagues around decision making; this is largely informed through her well-educated background in psychology.
When discussing her experience so far Emily said: “I have really enjoyed my first few weeks of working for The Change Foundation. I have been thrown in at the deep end with so many tasks and responsibilities but have such fantastic support from the team. I am grateful to the charity for the opportunity so far and look forward to seeing what else I can get involved with whilst working here!”
The Kickstart scheme allows us to cater to an array of talented young people. This has allowed us not only to employ people in our head office team, but within our sports coaches as well.
Chantelle Dawe is a leading Krump Street Dance teacher and performer and recently joined our team as Dance Coach Mentor. Chantelle shared: “Kickstart is a great way to get young people to be active and do something constructive especially after lockdown.” She added: “The kickstart scheme really caters to your needs and wants!”
Being a creative work was harder for Chantelle to find especially because schools were closed, and events were cancelled. Despite the challenges she faced it was possible for Chantelle to get more creative and invest in certain interests that she did not have time for previously. Since joining our team Chantelle has shared a wealth of unique dance knowledge and experience with us. This has been hugely beneficial to our dance programmes and the young people on them.
As well as benefitting us, this work opportunity has also helped Chantelle to better understand where she wants to evolve within her professional career. She shared: “The Change Foundation has opened my eyes even more to the positive impact that mentoring, and coaching has on young people. It has helped me to gain a deeper understanding of the importance of my work.”
Through her work here Chantelle feels that she has been able to connect with a lot of unique individuals that all connect through their mutual want of bettering the lives of young people. On a final note Chantelle expressed: “It has been an amazing experience so far and I am excited to see what is to come next.”
We are so grateful to each of our Kickstarters for adding so much value, knowledge and experience to our charity. We are extremely lucky to have recruited such a phenomenal group of young talent. We look forward to helping each of them progress forward and excel in their future careers.
For more information about the Kickstart programme, please contact our Corporate Services Director, Carol Driver.