Harry Penman, 21, is coming to the end of his Kickstart Placement with Julian House in Trowbridge. We spoke to him about how he got on the programme and what it meant to him.

Tell us about your background and how you applied for this position?

When I left School, I studied for 1 year on an Electrician course and then 2 years in IT, but after completing this course I couldn’t find any roles in IT. So, I started a temporary role in a warehouse, but when this finished, I was left unemployed, COVID hit and things became harder. I was on Universal Credit and at the start of this year I told about the Kickstart Scheme from the Job Centre.

What does your role entail at Julian House, Build a Bike?

I work mostly back in the office in E-Commerce’s, processing orders from EBAY and taking them to our local Hermes collection point. Because of this I work 5 days a week ensuring the orders are met on time, when I have spare time I like to go out into the workshop and help to work on the bikes for refurb which I really enjoy.

How has Kickstart effected your life?

It has been a really good opportunity, I have gained skills and confidence, met new people and it has given me experience for my CV. In past interviews I have fallen down as I didn’t have enough experience, but now I do. When my placement ends in 1 month, I will be back out there looking for a new role.

Kickstart is a 6-month paid job placement with employability support included, it is open to 16 – 24 year olds who are on Universal Credit.

The Build a Bike programme is available in Trowbridge, for those 18 + it is a 4 week programme, 3 hours a week, offering learners the opportunity to choose a second–hand bike, disassemble and rebuild it, learning crucial bicycle mechanics along the way. When completed, the bicycle they have built is theirs to keep, along with the skills required to maintain it and keep it working well. They will also be able to achieve three AQA certificates in Health And Safety At Work, Bike Maintenance and Building a Bike if they wish to do so. If you would like to make a referral, please email geraldine.roast@julianhouse.org.uk

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