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Renée shares her Kickstart scheme experience

Renée Squire
Customer assistant

The Kickstart programme is a scheme for young people aged 16-24, claiming Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment. The programme gives young people paid work experience for six months as well as employability skills to help them become work ready. As our first intake of Kickstart draws to a close, one of our Kickstarters, Renée, shares her experience.

“Before joining Tesco, I loved to act. I took acting jobs wherever I could, but I also worked front of house. It was hard work, but lots of fun. However, juggling work was tricky, as I have a daughter to care for. I didn’t have much stability and the contracts were all either freelance or zero hours.

Then when COVID-19 hit, all the theatres closed, practically overnight. Suddenly out of work, I was struggling, not only financially but mentally too. Stuck at home and needing to support myself and my daughter, I started looking for jobs but there wasn’t much around. My mum works for Tesco and she heard about the Kickstart scheme. It’s six months of support and guidance for young people like me, in areas of high unemployment. The scheme offered the chance to get training and experience in a role and industry that I hadn’t previously worked in. It sounded perfect, so I applied, and I was accepted.

My first day on the programme was really scary. Although working front of house in the theatre had given me customer service skills and I’m naturally pretty talkative, I had really lost my confidence. I joined Springhill Superstore, in my hometown of Birmingham, and everyone was so kind and welcoming, making an effort to get to know me.

Not only has my confidence grown and my bank balance never looked so healthy, but I’ve learned so many new skills on the Kickstart scheme. For the first time in my life I have a proper job contract. I can also apply to work overtime in different stores, which has broadened my experience even further.

When my six months on the Kickstart scheme ended, I was so pleased to join an Express store in a permanent role. I’ve realised that I really enjoy working in retail and there’s so much more I want to do. My aim now is to work my way up to become a Store Manager one day. Joining Tesco has been one of the best decisions I’ve made. I’m really excited about my future career.” 

The next intake of the Kickstart programme begins in September 2021.

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