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Kickstarting Futures

Kickstart is a government funded scheme which aims to support 16–24-year-olds, who are currently claiming Universal Credit, to find their feet in the working world.

At Morgan Sindall Property Services (MSPS), we have taken on a total of 22 Kickstart employees to complete placements across a variety of roles including Administration, Customer Service, Property Maintenance, Gardening and Hygiene Operative. We’re also happy to have been able to offer six of those permanent positions at MSPS, and a further two are on fixed term contracts.

To find out more about the scheme, we checked in with Joe Pearce who recently finished his placement and is now a full time Customer Service Advisor, and Daniel Dillon who is still undertaking his placement as a Customer Service Trainee. They tell us about their experiences.

Joe Pearce, Customer Service Advisor, Basildon
Joe had previously worked for an investment company in a call centre, and later for a recruitment company. However due to Covid he was made redundant and found himself looking for work again. That’s where the Kickstart Scheme came in…
Not only did Joe excel at his new role at MSPS, but his hours were increased to full time and he is now a permanent member of staff.

Joe tells us about his experience:
I was introduced to the Kickstart role via my work coach. I was sent a booklet with a range of different jobs and the one with MSPS looked really interesting.

The nature of the role and industry was completely different to what I had done before. My dad works in the industry and I did a week’s work experience with him while in college and really enjoyed it but didn’t think it would be an industry I could get into.

To start with, I was sat with multiple employees in the office to learn about the company and see the different roles and what people do. My hours were 9:00am to 2:30pm. After that I was given my desk and was assigned to the Basildon repairs email inbox. This meant I was handling any emails that were sent by council tenants regarding repairs. I would raise their issues and book in dates for them.

Then I was given the Sheltered Scheme inbox. Here I communicated directly with the housing officers of the sheltered housing schemes, raising any issues and assigning engineers or contractors to properties.

Now I am a full-time employee at MSPS working 8am to 5pm in the call centre, organising repairs from council tenants calling directly through to us. I have learned a lot of skills here as I am communicating in a variety of different ways, through emails, letters and telephone. This has also improved my confidence as there are a lot of people relying on me to raise and chase up their issues. It’s given me a lot of responsibility.

Charlie Brian, Joe’s manager, said:
It didn’t take Joe long to get to grips with our systems. We gave him a shared mailbox to manage and within the space of a couple of weeks we had offered him a full-time position because he had been so effective. He is now on the phones talking to customers and is a full-time member of staff on a permanent contract!

Daniel Dillon, Customer Service Trainee, Hammersmith and Fulham
Daniel was looking at a wide range of jobs before starting the Kickstart Scheme, searching for something that fit his skillset. He had a lot of interviews and work trials, and though he didn’t get the jobs, he was able to gain a lot of experience and insights into different industries and how they operate.
He had taken numerous optional training courses to help build up his CV and found that these also helped his mental state while being forced to stay inside due to the pandemic. He joined some mental health Microsoft groups which helped him with his confidence and anxiety, putting him in a strong position to begin the Kickstart Scheme.

Daniel tells us about his experience:
While on the Kickstart Scheme, I have been doing a wide range of work including booking appointments using various company software. I also supported tenants through the Hact Energy Scheme by contacting a range of vulnerable tenants across the country to support them with their gas and electricity top-ups. I now know how to communicate with tenants in difficult circumstances and how to deal with the issues they raise.

I’ve loved the teamworking aspect – hybrid team working has really fascinated me as you could have someone working from home but still able to communicate effectively. I also loved learning how to use the different bits of software and how easy it was to learn. At first, I thought the programmes were intimidating, but after a couple of weeks of shadowing colleagues and repetitive practicing I was tooting along with no difficulties.

Lastly, I loved that during the company induction process MSPS provided support with online modules to complete. The modules show you the in-depth process of how to use Microsoft programmes, Outlook and of course a wide range of health and safety modules.

In my view the Kickstart Scheme should be available for any age. I feel if you give people a chance who have less work experience or poor grades, and offer them an interview or a work placement, you have the chance to encourage a lot of young people or older people to go into industries which need more staff, or you could find potential in the person’s ability to work well in your company instead of judging their CV or previous experience.

After finishing the Kickstart job, I am looking to apply for various roles through Morgan Sindall Property Services or even applying for their Apprenticeship schemes.