St Helena Hospice in north east Essex, UK is supporting more than 40 young people to gain work experience and develop a career path by employing them through the government’s Kickstart scheme – and six of them have now been offered jobs within the organisation.
Maliha Ahmed has taken on the role of ward clerk; William Leatham and Andrew Seymour were offered positions to remain working in the lottery team; Zak Bishop is staying on as a house clearance assistant in the retail team; Orla Hegarty-Denham has taken on the new role of maintenance administrator and Aleena Villers is remaining in her role of marketing assistant.
The Kickstart scheme, created and funded by the government, is a way for young people aged 16-24 who were receiving Universal Credit, to gain experience in roles and prepare them for the future. Employment entails a 25 hour working week over the duration of a six-month period, in which employers will provide valuable knowledge of the work place, offer CV and interview skills workshops, and help with confidence in applying for future roles.
Maliha Ahmed took on the role of project administrator in April 2021 and as her six month placement came to an end she applied for and was offered the role of ward clerk, working in the hospice inpatient unit.
Maliha Ahmed, ward clerk, in the St Helena Hospice inpatient unit.
She said: “I was introduced to Kickstart through the Job Centre where my job coach gave me information about the various opportunities, along with feedback to improve my CV, which led me to be offered an interview at St Helena Hospice.
“The staff at St Helena Hospice, and my line manager, were very patient with me and provided me with the support and training to adjust to working life, and to carry out my job as a project administrator effectively.
Over my placement I found my feet and the role has given me a sense of purpose and direction in my life and I am very grateful for and excited for this next step in my career.”
Aleena Villers, marketing assistant, added: “I initially registered with the Kickstart programme as I decided I wanted a future in marketing but needed to obtain the skills to get there. When I saw the listing for St Helena Hospice, I was immediately drawn to it due to the nature of the organisation and hearing so many great things about it. The scheme has enabled me to work amongst an amazing team whilst gaining knowledge and understanding for the role, I feel very grateful to have been kept on so I can develop my skills further.”
The Kickstart scheme enabled the creation of 47 positions across St Helena Hospice with a further 17 vacancies in departments throughout the organisation. Of these, more than half are working in St Helena’s extensive retail operation which spans across north east Essex, with the remaining young adults working across support services and income generation including lottery, human resources, marketing, estates, and admin.
Hayley Joshua, director of HR at St Helena Hospice, said: “As a local charity which relies so heavily on the local community to enable us to continue providing our vital care, it’s important for us to give back where we can. We’re delighted we’ve been able to employ so many young adults to work across the organisation, helping them gain vital skills which will hopefully aid them in securing future employment when their placement with us ends; and we’re thrilled we’ve been able to offer five of them the opportunity to remain working with us.
“It’s also wonderful for us to have the additional resource to assist our teams. The feedback from line managers who already have Kickstart employees working with them has been extremely positive; not only are they demonstrating a keenness to learn but they are also making a positive contribution to the hospice with the work they are doing.”
There are roles still available under the Kickstart scheme for St Helena Hospice. People interested and eligible should speak to their DWP work coach for information before the scheme ends on 31st March 2022.
Lead photo from left to right: Aleena Villers, marketing assistant; Maliha Ahmed, ward clerk and Andrew Seymour, lottery admin officer, pictured outside St Helena Hospice offices.
St Helena Hospice was established in 1985 and provides specialist end of life care and bereavement support for patients and their families living in North Essex who face incurable illness. The emphasis for this charity is about quality of life and services include The Hospice, Hospice in the Home, Bereavement Support, Day Therapies (including complementary therapies) and SinglePoint, a 24/7 helpline. Each year St Helena raises a considerable sum from the local community to maintain the specialist care offered.