Four young women have landed their dream jobs thanks to a new scheme to combat youth unemployment.
Rebecca Jones (22), Kadie Ryan (25), Rachel McGuire (22) and Ariale Luviluka (19) all took up the Kickstart scheme, managed by Salford City Council, which offers six months paid work experience and training. It is open to young people aged 16 to 24 who are claiming Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment.
Now they have all gone on to jobs and apprenticeships at Salford City Council’s nurseries where they will spend the next two years studying for an NVQ Level 3 Early Years Educator qualification while working with children aged up to five years old.
Rebecca said: “I wasn’t in education and I was jobless. I didn’t think I’d get anywhere with my life but Kickstart gave me an opportunity. It is the best decision I have ever made and has changed my life.
“I have learned so much, the children and staff are amazing and I’ve gained so much confidence I didn’t know I had. I can’t begin to describe how happy it makes me to know I can get my qualification and continue my career.”
Kadie said she burst into tears on the bus home when she heard the news.
“I was so excited and I’m telling everyone I know who is eligible for the scheme to go for it if they can,” she said.
Rachel, who lost her job in the pandemic and found herself unemployed for the first time in five years, said the placement had helped her move on from bar work.
“I had no experience of working with young children but the team supported me and made me very welcome, letting me ask as many questions as necessary. I love the job and Kickstart was perfect for me.”
Ariale said younger family members made her realise how much she enjoyed working with young children.
“I was looking for an opportunity to start a career in something I was interested in and came onto Kickstart to get some experience,” she said.
“I’ve had great support and helped children learn and expand their understanding of the world. I was also able to use my second language French to help some children feel more settled which was really rewarding.”
Councillor Jim Cammell, lead member for children’s and young people’s services, congratulated the four for their achievement and making the most of opportunities on the government-led scheme.
“Salford has really rallied round to support young people who have been hard hit by the pandemic and help them take the first steps in their career,” he said.
“Businesses and organisations, including the council, have offered more than 100 placements in a huge range of jobs and they are still coming in. We’ve placed people in everything from digital marketing and facilities management to construction, engineering, education and business administration.”
Anyone interested in a Kickstart placement can contact their work coach, see www.salford.gov.uk/kickstart for the latest opportunities with local businesses as well as the council or email firstname.lastname@example.org