So, you want to learn about kickstart jobs. I don’t blame you, they’re pretty swell. However, before I get into the juicy stuff, I’m going to take the time to tell you a little bit about my past employment history and experiences.
Much like most people my age (22), my first job was through school work experience as a waitress for a local restaurant. The duties were reasonably standard for a job in hospitality – money handling, customer service, serving, cleaning tables and also making hot drinks using a coffee machine. I left this job due to the company and restaurant closing, but it wasn’t long before I had my next job – also in food and hospitality.
This job actually ended up being at a relatively well known sandwich chain. I still think my job title of “sandwich artist” was pretty cool to be honest, and sandwich art I made. I worked at this place for about 6 months before I left to prepare myself for my next big adventure – University!!
I went to Manchester Metropolitan University for English and Creative writing in late 2017. Shortly after moving there, I landed a job at another well-known chain, but this time it was an Italian restaurant as bar staff. For the most part it wasn’t too bad of a job, even if I do still hear the ticket machine in my dreams sometimes.
I also worked at a steakhouse for a couple of months in Manchester and I worked in care services a few times in between, but I’d rather not bore you with my entire employment history. So finally; let’s get into the juicy stuff.
I stumbled across my current kickstart position whilst scrolling through the Jobs feature on Facebook. At first I didn’t even realise it was a kickstart role, so it’s lucky that I was actually eligible for the programme. (For more details on kickstart eligibility, feel free to head over to our other blog post at https://www.thinkemployment.com/what-is-the-kickstart-scheme/ to get all of the relevant information!)
Starting at the beginning; the interview, held by the head of recruitment and the head of marketing here at the Grimsby branch of ThinkEmployment. Now, I’m a pretty anxious person so interviews are normally my worst nightmare, but here I immediately felt comfortable. The atmosphere of the office from the second I walked in was warm, friendly and welcoming – something which, up until this point, I wasn’t very familiar with in a working environment.
Spoiler alert: I got the job. Obviously, or I wouldn’t be writing this. My first week in the office was training for the job role and learning all things marketing. This involved looking into brands and the marketing techniques they use for the first day, and using Canva to make a logo for my very own brand on the second and third days. From the definition of a mission statement to creating my own brand and product, I can definitely say that my brain, much like the Grinch’s heart, grew three sizes that week.
I officially started here on the 26/10/21, which means that as of today (15th December) I’ve been here almost two months. How exciting!
My first few weeks were mainly focused on creating Candidate Attraction Packs for kickstart employers all over the country. I made these using an online graphic design software called Canva, the same software that I used in my marketing training to create my brand logo and product. Candidate Attraction Packs, or CAPs, are a set of graphic and animated posts that were made for employers to use to advertise their kickstart vacancies, predominantly through social media. Admittedly, at first I was quite nervous to send off the packs I’d made – nothing like a little bit of self-doubt – but once I’d sent my first few across, the feedback I received was amazing! It was surreal to see that actual companies and employers loved my work; specifically something that I didn’t really think was my forte. Knowing these clients were over the moon with their CAPs definitely helped to boost my confidence a fair amount, especially after making 50+ of them and getting only positive feedback. Another part of these CAPs was infiltrating Facebook groups for the areas surrounding the vacancies, and posting the graphics and animations into these groups to generate more interest.
In my second week I did, however, get to take a little time out from creating these CAPs in order to write up case studies for two of the kickstart employees that had also recently just started working here. It was actually quite exciting for me because writing is what I love to do most, so being able to put these skills I’d acquired at Uni to good use was an exhilarating experience.
So, what was my next venture you ask? Making company ID badges, again, using Canva. After a first attempt followed by a few days tweaking and fine tuning, the ID badges were all finished, with the Managing Director’s approval! I’ll be happy if I don’t have to use a guillotine again for a few weeks though.
Moving away from the more work-related topics, I do want to touch on the working environment too. I’ve said previously in this blog post that I wasn’t used to having a warm and friendly working environment from my prior job experiences. The thing about the majority of the places I worked previously is that a lot of the time – in my experience, at least – you’re expendable. These job roles tended to make me feel like a number instead of a person; it comes across as if any skills you may have don’t really seem to be valued. As someone with their fair share of mental health issues, that part of myself has always felt like an obstacle when it comes to employment. Pretty much all of my past job roles have ended up taking priority over my mental wellbeing, which sucks but unfortunately it’s relatively standard for the industry.
It’s nothing like that in this job, though. Truthfully, I feel incredibly lucky to have stumbled across this position. Not only have I met a group of really lovely people, but I also feel like I’ve made actual friends – not just “work acquaintances”. I’m constantly reminded of how valuable my skills and assets are to the company from the feedback I get from both clients and my manager. It’s bizarre to me to feel so valued in a job role after feeling disposable in them for so long, however it’s also one of the best feelings.
Another welcome change is the attitude towards mental health. It truly is a blessing to have superiors who understand the importance of mental health, and I can honestly say this is the most comfortable, supported and appreciated I’ve ever felt in a working environment. After spending so long downplaying it in the fear it would cost me my job, it’s a breath of fresh air to be able to talk about it so openly, not to mention how supportive the response has been when I have spoken about it.
You made it to the end of this post, congratulations! I hope you can feel your brain swelling with information like I did my first week training here. Have you learned anything? As you can probably tell, I definitely have. Considering I didn’t know too much about the kickstart programme when I rocked up to my interview here, it’s tangible how much it’s already changed my life for the better in a matter of a couple of months.
So what are you waiting for? Get looking for your next big adventure! I wish you all the best that you find something as incredible as I did.