I had previously worked in retail but had to give up my job due to long-term illness. I was very poorly with Crohn’s Disease and was hospitalised many times and unable to work. So I had no other option but to apply for Universal Credit, which led to the Job Centre letting me know about CXK and the Kickstart Scheme. I then started my Kickstart work placement at Volker Highways a month later.
The Kickstart Scheme was a very good way for me to get back to normality after being unwell and out of work for months. The Kickstart placement is part-time, and previously I have always worked full-time, so working part-time allowed me to get back into work but to not overdo it and worsen my illness. My workplace have been amazingly understanding of my situation and so supportive, along with my Kickstart mentors.
My CXK Kickstart mentors (Vicki and David) have been a vital support system throughout as it has not been straightforward, having to have time off during my placement because of my illness. This has been the most helpful part of this scheme as I have suffered with my illness for years and had no support from previous employers. CXK and Kickstart have given me the confidence that there are employers out there that can adapt for you and still consider you an asset, even if you are suffering.
The programme has benefitted me greatly in giving me the confidence that employers do care, as previously I have never received such support. I was in a beneficial situation as I have employment history and therefore did not require mentoring on basic job skills as I already possessed them, however the support that I did receive was tailored to my specific needs. This being the mental support I received in getting my life back to normal and allowing me to have faith in my future.
I am so grateful that my workplace has extended my contract past the Kickstart Scheme and has also offered me more hours to my liking. I have decided to return to full-time once my placement comes to an end now I am in a better place health wise. My work is amazing and letting me be flexible and have the option to work from home when needed. I am learning so much and I hope to progress more within the company in the future.
The Kickstart Scheme provides funding to employers to create jobs for 16 to 24 year olds on Universal Credit. For further information, visit Kickstart Scheme – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk). CXK provides wraparound support for the Kickstart programme to ensure young people are assisted through all stages of recruitment and retention.