Kickstart – a boost for us as individuals, departments and Artswork
Date Created: 19th Aug 2021
The national Kickstart scheme, launched last year during the pandemic, is a Government initiative with a £2 billion fund which provides 6-month work placements for eligible young people. Artswork are hosting many placements right across the South East, at a variety of arts and cultural organisations. One recently joined member of the Communications Department at Artswork, Grace Jackson, shares her experiences so far and what it’s like to be a Social Media & Digital Marketing Assistant.
The word Kickstart itself has something that grabs you – it’s punchy, motivational and to the point. And this is something that the whole economy but particularly the arts and culture industry has needed more than never during this pandemic. The concept can be unpacked to see all the ways in which this fantastic scheme is benefitting Artswork and the individuals who are enrolled on it.
For me, it became the best way to get back into work while getting to pursue my passions and interests in a professional setting through re-training in a new career. What I love about the Kickstart scheme is that virtually any young person aged 16-24 who is out of work and in receipt of Universal Credit (UC) is eligible to be referred for suitable job roles with participating organisations and companies. Whereas other ‘regular’ job vacancies often require a great deal of experience and knowledge in that particular field, Kickstart is an open door for young people. You receive full training in the job you are employed for; and certainly, in the case of Artswork – incredible mentoring and support. It doesn’t matter if you have never worked before, have just left university or college or like me; have been working for some years, you can apply for a Kickstart role with the same chances of being hired as the other jobseekers.
My journey to being accepted as a Kickstarter with the Communications department at Artswork went as follows: I am fortunate to have several years of work experience working for a few different companies since leaving college a while back. My roles up until this point have all been in the high street area; and include charity-non-profit and high-end accessories concession retailing. In my time within retail, I worked as a Sales Consultant, a Supervisor with Managerial Duties and an Assistant Manager, but when I knew redundancy was looming for me in 2020; I began to think about where I could go from there and if I could switch careers into a line of work that was more finely tuned to the things I loved and could hopefully succeed at.
It must be said that there haven’t been many good things to come out of the pandemic but the opportunity to retrain in a new area and particularly something you’re enthusiastic about (as this is the main focus when being referred to job postings) is one of them. The main differentiating factor for Kickstart as opposed to other avenues to go down is it is targeted specifically at people who generally wouldn’t have the funds to pay for courses themselves to gain knowledge in a specific area; as all Kickstarters are paid their wages by the government. For me, I already feel like it is a shame my placement is only going to last 6 months as I am really loving my journey with Artswork so much that I’m not going to want to leave. I also received some good news recently – after my one-month review with my work coach at the job centre of how my role is going, I was informed that they would like to do some coverage on me as a ‘good news/success story’ of someone who has found a job through Kickstart and is loving it. This was such a flattering confidence boost; and shows that sometimes if you work hard and get yourself in the right position; it can pay off and you can be given recognition.
There is something so different about working for this organisation compared to other workplaces and environments. The most obvious reason that I can pinpoint that to is simply the culture –which is the foundation for Artswork’s 5 Stories beliefs and ethics. Our strapline is ‘empowering children and young people through arts and culture’, and this is a great way of demonstrating how culture can be something we can all experience through varied enrichment, and the feeling you get in your environment. The best thing that we can do for the youngsters we’re working with is to create a feeling of happiness and joy surrounding what we do! And for me; that starts with my experience as a Kickstarter. I am a young person and I think the best way to ensure that I am doing a good job in my role and to guarantee that what I’m doing positively impacts those who will eventually be on the receiving end of my efforts, is to utilise and harness the patience, kindness and excellent training that I have received and pass that on. We are working to give the next generation the best chance and involvement in the arts and culture sphere possible; and we can only do that if we include the voices of this generation; our voices, who want and need to be heard now so that we can collaboratively create a better present; which will lead to an even better tomorrow.
Keep an eye out for more news stories and blogs coming your way very soon surrounding the Kickstart scheme and our exciting plans to bring more young people to the fore with some great roles. If you’re interested in joining Artswork under the scheme, speak to your Job Centre Plus work coach about a referral to apply for one of our fantastic vacancies – we are looking especially for candidates from the Isle of Wight to fill placements there. We work with a variety of local cultural institutions including The Royal Navy and MAST (in partnership with the Mayflower Theatre), so if you have experience in the arts – or even if you don’t and would love to learn more, click here to see the opportunities currently on our website. You can also find some recent blogs from young people who have worked with us as Apprentices here some of whom were so outstanding that they have stayed on at Artswork! If you have any queries before applying, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, who as one of our wonderful Trainers, will be able to provide you with all the info you need!