Andrew Smith, 23, from Bath is finishing his Kickstart placement at Julian House. We spoke to him about his journey and how Kickstart has supported him through the end of lockdown.

What is your educational background?

I studied for my Masters in Physics at Sheffield, as I finished I was job searching during the COVID pandemic, which was really hard. I moved back to Bath and started to claim Universal Credit. My friend has told me about Kickstart and then my job coach presented me with some options.

What has Kickstart given you?

It was given me a new hobby! I have gained an interest in bikes and now own my own. I have new skills both in the workshop and in customer skills. I have found the workshop is a lot like a lab – but dirtier! I have worked front of house, serving customers, cleaned, organised and tided. I have come up with a new Ebike hiring system, I carried out market research, created the terms and conditions of hire, set pricing and launched the project. Which has created a new revenue stream for Julian House. It has given me motivation to keep applying for roles now my placement is ending. I recently had an interview, whilst I didn’t secure the role, I was told I got the interview because of the hands on experience I have had here.

You can watch a supporting video to this case study on our @young_workwiltshire Instagram page!

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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