GWAAC's young kickstarts - Great Western Air Ambulance Charity
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Great Western Air Ambulance Charity are participating in the government Kickstart scheme which is aimed at getting young people into work. At GWAAC we believe in investing in people and nurturing their talents. The charity took on two new kickstarts in 2021 who have both since become permanent. We have since taken on three more kickstart applicants and are excited about watching their development.

 

What is Kickstart?

Kickstart is a government initiative that offers 16 to 24 year olds, who are on or have been on Universal Credit, the opportunity for six months paid employment and the chance to gain valuable workplace skills. 

 

Toby - one year on

Graduating from university during a global pandemic was hard and finding a pathway to the working world proved to be a huge struggle.

Having graduated from University Campus of Football Business (UCFB) with a 2:1 in Football Business and Marketing, signing on to Universal Credit was something that I was reluctant to do for months. But applying for jobs became demoralising and it felt like a fruitless exercise as time went on. I eventually sucked up my pride and signed on.

My job coach was able to talk me through how the Kickstart scheme worked — I’d heard about Kickstart, mainly from my mum, but I hadn’t done much research on it myself.

After a month or so of being Kickstart-eligible, I had managed to secure a few different interviews for various roles. One of which was with Great Western Air Ambulance Charity (GWAAC).

In the same week, both GWAAC and another business offered me an admin role. I had gone from zero job offers in months, to two in the space of a week. I now had to decide where I’d rather work. I chose GWAAC. I decided I’d rather work for an organisation that does good things and helps its community.

It was the best decision I could have made! Since starting in March 2021, everyone has been lovely — my colleagues, our clinical and operational crew, our supporters… everyone.

When I chose GWAAC, I was aware that because they are a charity, they might not be able to fund my role beyond the six months Kickstart position. And I knew I might be back at square one once my placement was finished. I decided however that it would be beneficial to have the work experience under my belt and thankfully, I was wrong about my role ending.

I was offered a permanent role with the charity. I continued in my admin role for four months or so before I received another promotion. I am now pursuing the subject I studied at university as a Communications and Marketing Assistant and have been with the charity for a whole year!

I have had some truly amazing experiences during the year I’ve been with GWAAC, including a tour of the BRI helipad in Bristol, as well as a flight in the GWAAC helicopter! As a young person entering the working world, GWAAC has provided me with an excellent platform for learning.

The support I receive from my peers is both helpful and insightful. And working for a small organisation means I have been able to capitalise on countless opportunities to take part in or lead on different projects and tasks. This has allowed me to discover and understand the sort of roles and tasks I enjoy in the workplace.

 

Kieran - a new start

I joined the GWAAC team in late February through the Kickstart scheme.

Kickstart is a programme where the government funds a company to recruit a new employee (Kickstarter) for 25 hours a week. The hope is that the employee will kickstart their career through a fresh new job and training.

I got the job by attending a Kickstart jobs fair at my local Jobcentre. My work coach recommended that I attend and that I go with an “open mind and smartly dressed.” It was here I spoke to Toby.

It felt good speaking with Toby as he was recruited into GWAAC via Kickstart and he’d been in a similar situation as me. I listened to what Toby said about his journey, the opportunities, and the positions available. I walked away feeling interested in the Communications and Marketing role and I applied less than a week later.

I was invited to an informal interview. I was interviewed by Claire and Tom whose department I am now in. I respected the honesty and transparency that the two showed in the interview. They were very welcoming and understanding. I explained to them I had no office experience and was completely new to a sit-down type of job. They explained how it might take a while for me to adjust to working at a desk and acknowledged that I might struggle and feel tired at the end of the week. As the interview concluded, I was told I would be informed by 5 pm that day if I’d been successful, which they did!

I joined the following Tuesday. At first, I was a bit nervous as I was not only new to the team but new to office work and I didn’t know what to expect. However, I was greeted by Claire, my manager, and Anna the CEO, and they put me at ease. I then had one-to-one meetings with each member of the Communications and Marketing Team which also helped break the ice.

Also, people from other departments didn’t hesitate to come over, introduce themselves, and make me feel welcome. The honesty and warmth from the whole GWAAC office is what made it easier to settle in.

I’m currently at the end of my 3rd week at GWAAC and I’m enjoying the responsibilities that I’ve been given. In particular, I like being able to choose which tasks I want to complete and how I manage my time. I’m becoming more familiar with my colleagues in the Comms team and in other departments.

Over the last three weeks, I have become more self-sufficient and feel like I’m playing my part to help where I can. I’m enjoying the training and adjusting to an office-based job. It’s satisfying working for a good cause like GWAAC (I must admit, I used to think the air ambulance charity was part of the NHS). It feels better than working for a big corporate company and it will be interesting to see where this job takes me.

 

Will you join us?

We're currently recruiting for an Event Coordinator, Supporter Engagement Coordinator, several Retail Managers and many more. Check out the latest GWAAC career vacancies on our jobs board.