The Kickstart scheme is one of the best policies to come out of the pandemic. In case you haven’t heard of it, it’s a government scheme whereby 16-24 year olds looking for work have a decent portion of their wage subsidised by the government. With my economics hat on, this is the kind of policy that represents a win-win-win. Young people looking for work suddenly get access to more opportunities, and in the kinds of companies that might otherwise overlook them (like tech companies). Companies reduce their labour costs and get a small budget to help train up their new recruits. And the government reduces unemployment by channeling money that would otherwise go towards Universal Credit into paid work. The incentives align perfectly.
Interview With Iara Figueiredo
At Stasher, we’ve been huge ambassadors of the scheme since its inception and have recruited 6 young people through it to date. Our latest full-time hire, Iara Figueiredo, joined us via the Kickstart scheme in June. Here are her thoughts on the scheme and what her experience of joining Stasher has been like.
Q: What do you do at Stasher?
A: I work as an Operations Associate at Stasher. The role includes a great deal of things, but focuses on host relations management and customer support management. This basically means ensuring that our hosts are happy and have all the supplies necessary to give our customers the best customer experience, and managing our outsourced support team. Part of the role also includes things like analyzing customer reviews to scope out patterns that we can use to improve our overall service, since customer satisfaction is a top priority at Stasher. I’ve found Operations work to be everything in the background that keeps things running smoothly, kind of like the little cogs inside of a clock. Sometimes I also do some content work (blog writing), which has been really fun, informative, and gives me a chance to get creative and learn a bit more about digital marketing.
Q: What is your background and why did you apply to the Kickstart scheme?
A: I previously worked in Retail, specifically in make-up, fashion and fragrance. It was a fast-paced environment and while enjoyable in some aspects (mostly because I got to network and interact with various types of people), it eventually became quite repetitive and I didn’t feel like I was learning skills that were really helping me build a career. Not to mention, the industry took a huge hit when COVID-19 struck. I figured that in the midst of all that was happening, it would be smart to move into a different industry and it was during that very transitional period that the Kickstart Scheme was brought to my attention.
When I first learned more about the scheme, I thought that it seemed a little bit too good to be true. Resources like this that help to get young people into work (especially in companies like Stasher) can be quite hard to find. But I read up on Stasher, it’s employees, where the company originated, what it was about and I was met with a concept that I had never heard of! From there I didn’t really hesitate and I’m very glad that I didn’t!
Q: How has working at Stasher compared to what you expected?
A: To be completely honest, I came into Stasher with no real expectations. I wasn’t sure whether the role was going to be something long-term for me, whether I would adopt any real skills or benefit from the experience in any way. Let’s just say that while I was hopeful, I wasn’t banking on the scheme’s success. But my doubts were quite quickly swept away when I started at Stasher, and along with new knowledge and experience, I gained much more, including an opportunity within a company where I see a path to growing in my career, and truly be a part of a team and great product.
In the space of 4 months working at Stasher, I have accomplished more than I did during the 5+ years that I spent working in the retail industry. I’ve learned new skills that I feel will actually be of use to me in the future, not only in my professional life, but also in personal endeavors. I’ve become competent in key computer skills (like g sheets/excel) and using modern software products for automation and data analysis, like Zapier, SQL and modern customer support software suites.
Nothing could have prepared me for how awesome this experience has been.
Q: Would you recommend the scheme? And what advice would you give to any potential Kickstart applicants (not just those applying to Stasher)
A: I would absolutely, without a doubt, recommend the scheme. I’ve already told a bunch of friends to look into applying for the Kickstart scheme and 2 of them have and have been successful, which is super exciting!
Where Stasher is concerned, to put it bluntly, you are missing out if you don’t apply. If you want to be around a group of extremely driven, highly intelligent and welcoming people who value you and your work, then there isn’t really a better place to be. I’ve honestly loved my experience so far and I can’t wait to see how it will progress.
My last piece of advice for any potential applicants is, just try it! Apply for the scheme, go for that job that you’re not sure you’ll like, do the thing that you’re scared of doing because you think you might fail. If I hadn’t pushed past fear, worry and many of my own assumptions, I would never have applied for the Kickstart Scheme and I might not have ended up at Stasher.
Iara’s story is a great example of why we need policies like the Kickstart scheme. Working with Iara has been a joy.
The scheme covers 25 hours of work per week at minimum wage, but at Stasher our minimum is 30 hours of work and the London living wage. It baffles me that we have a calculated living wage that exists above the legal minimum wage, and the latter hasn’t yet been raised to that level.
Anybody eligible for the Kickstart scheme and looking to apply, please contact [email protected] We have openings in sales and marketing roles.