The Kickstart Scheme – or just Kickstart for short – is a UK government initiative, run through the Department for Work and Pensions, to address the problem of an overwhelming number of young people in the United Kingdom who are struggling to get into meaningful, fulfilling, and finically stable careers.
Kickstart funds a six-month, 25-hour-a-week placement at participating organizations with the specific aim of giving young people ages 16-24 the opportunity to gain essential industry knowledge and skills – as well as to explore career paths to which they may have otherwise never had access. I am now at the end of my placement, and I wanted to share how valuable my experience has been.
When I saw GFC’s advertisement for a Team Support Assistant through Kickstart, I was excited, but also nervous – I had never considered a career in philanthropy and I didn’t know what to expect. Nevertheless, I applied with an open mind and the (admittedly somewhat pessimistic) thought that if nothing else, it would give me administrative experience that I could take elsewhere. A CV, cover letter, and interview later, I was in.
I had no idea then how wonderfully and dramatically that decision would change my life.
GFC’s fantastic Senior Programs Manager Katherine Gilmour was my direct manager, and I could not have hoped for a better mentor. I was given full support and freedom in creating my career development plan, and Katherine was very open to creating opportunities for me to explore anything I wanted to try. I was treated as an equal member of the team and given real responsibilities from day one.
I have had some truly unforgettable moments with GFC, not least of which have been organizing an in-person convening for GFC’s Exploring Masculinities in England initiative, helping to set up the Spark Fund, and taking ownership of a grants database. These opportunities helped me to develop key skills in communication, logistical management, database management, and grantmaking, as well as core administrative skills. More than that, my time at GFC has massively improved my confidence and has been an essential (and fun!) introduction to this sector. Through Kickstart, and with GFC’s support, I have gained skills and knowledge that I could not have gained any other way.
When I started looking for my next job, Katherine supported me greatly by reviewing each of my applications. She and Hayley Roffey, GFC’s Managing Director and Designated Safeguard Lead, both gave me valuable advice for finding the right position. Thanks to my fantastic experiences at GFC, and their support, I have been able to secure a full-time position with a local community foundation as a Grants Officer.
One of the greatest challenges facing young people today is a difficult job market, in which even entry-level positions require both years of education and years of experience. When young people choose to obtain further education, they sacrifice the time they might have spent getting experience; when they go straight to work, they temporarily give up the option of obtaining further education. And for some, further education isn’t possible. Before Kickstart, I had obtained an undergraduate degree and a master’s degree, but I still couldn’t move onto a career. Kickstart has been the perfect solution to this problem.
I am sad to be leaving GFC, but I will never forget this experience. Thanks to my Kickstart placement, I have a bright and exciting career ahead of me!
Header photo: Xanthe helped organize an in-person convening for GFC’s Exploring Masculinities in England initiative, which was held at the The Warren Youth Project’s resource center in Hull, England. © GFC
Global Fund for Children (GFC) UK Trust, created in 2006, is a UK registered charity (UK charity number 1119544). We work to generate vital income, create new fundraising opportunities, and raise awareness of the invaluable work of GFC’s grassroots grantees. Our aim is to extend the reach of GFC in the United Kingdom, Europe, and beyond.
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