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BCHA Who we are blog - Paige Hutchings, kickstart success

The Kickstart scheme was created in 2020 in response to rising unemployment among 18-24 year olds in the UK.

The government funded, six-month work placement, sees participants spending 25 hours per week gaining further skills, knowledge and training with employers.

BCHA helps over 10,000 people off the streets, out of abuse, over skills barriers and onto independence and work each year and wholeheartedly welcomed the chance to be part of Kickstart as a meaningful way into employment for young people.

Graduate Paige Hutchings, 24, came to BCHA on placement after being made redundant during the covid pandemic.

She said: “After I left school I went to college and worked in retail for two years.

“I didn't do overly well in my A levels, so after that I worked full time in a hardware store and redid some of my A levels in my own time for a year.

“Following this I moved to Bournemouth to attend BU and take a degree in Sociology & Criminology and alongside this I worked at Wetherspoons.

“After finishing my degree, I worked at Wetherspoons full time for a few months. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do or how to utilise my degree, so I started working for a loan company. But I absolutely hated this role and only stayed due to COVID-19.

“In March this year I was made redundant, which was scary. But I believe it was the push I needed to finally pursue something more career driven.”

Paige continued: “Prior to Kickstart, when I was looking for more of a long-term role, the difficulty I found was my lack of experience.

“Although I had seven years’ customer service experience and a degree-level qualification, my lack of experience in other areas was holding me back.

“But when I joined Kickstart the programme helped me get my foot in the door at BCHA, get some exposure and finally show my skill set.

“Greg my line manager made me feel really comfortable before I started, so I was excited to start something new.

“Part of my admin role was to help oversee Kickstart - getting other young people working within BCHA. Hearing about all the great work they had been doing and their success stories was one of my favourite parts.

“Then, in July, my department were advertising for my current role as engagement officer and some of my colleagues suggested that I apply.

“Nadia, one of our advisors on BCHA’s The Way Forward helped me get my CV up to scratch, which secured me an interview and I was lucky enough to get the role.

“I speak with potential referrers, partners and customers, letting them know what we offer and finding ways for them to refer into our courses or projects.

“Kickstart allowed me to access a role in Employabilty & Skills that I wouldn’t have been able to obtain through a normal recruitment process.

“Working within a supportive organisation has boosted my confidence - my colleagues in all departments have been fantastic and their help and praise has got my self-esteem to a place that at 16, I could never have foreseen.

“I'm going to be taking some qualifications to be able to give people advice and guidance.

“I would love to be a project advisor and run workshops or courses specifically for young people. One of my favourite parts of my role is speaking with young people at the Job Centre about Kickstart and identifying how we can help them, so I would like to take that further.”

Paige is relatively new to BCHA but has already made a large impression on the organisation – winning a Noble Newcomer accolade in the annual BCHA Bchangemaker Awards.

She said: “I am someone who has always doubted my abilities in work and during my education, so this award is a boost to my confidence and self-esteem, as my colleagues are seeing how much work I’m putting in and believe I’m doing a good job.”

Once a new BCHA Kickstart placement is approved, the role goes live with Job Centres, enabling work coaches to refer prospective candidates to jobs – it is then down to the candidate to apply by sending their CV to BCHA.

For more details of the Kickstart scheme visit: https://tinyurl.com/yfr4jttc

Details of current Kickstart roles available at BCHA can be found here: https://www.bcha.org.uk/jobs/

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