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Helping unemployed young people kickstart their careers

Tuesday 10th August 2021 10:12

Thames Water Kickstarter Elisha talks to mentor Nick

Thames Water 'Kickstarter' Elisha Sevvume talks to mentor Nick

Thames Water has boosted its commitment to unemployed young people aiming to kickstart their careers during the pandemic.

Britain’s biggest water company initially offered 50 placements under the government’s £2 billion Kickstart scheme – but this has now risen to 75.

The scheme funds six-month placements for unemployed 16 to 24-year-olds on Universal Credit.

Roles have been created across the Thames Water business, from operations to communications, with at least half due to be offered a permanent role at the end of the programme.

As well as gaining valuable experience of the workplace, they also benefit from internal training, coaching and mentoring.

Among them is Bethany Curtis, who said: "I was going for lots of different jobs and not hearing back for weeks – and one even kept me waiting for three months. Some didn't even come back to me at all. This was really getting me down, even though I understood it was because of the pandemic.

“It's hard to know what you are doing wrong without any feedback. Then I found the Kickstart role with Thames Water and was given some helpful advice and guidance with interview questions and what to expect.

“This helped my confidence and enabled me to secure the role. It’s a great opportunity because alongside a dedicated mentor there is always support and development throughout the placement."

To date, Thames Water has identified 50 opportunities across the business, with 25 people having been interviewed and offered their placements and a further 25 having already started.

Lynne Roome, senior national account manager at the Department for Work and Pensions, said: “I have been so impressed with how Thames Water have gone over and above to support individuals by identifying placements which will enhance and develop them.”

The Kickstart scheme forms part of Thames Water’s commitment to recruit more than 1,000 people this year.

Karima Khandker, Thames Water’s head of skills and emerging talent, said: “One of our principles is building a pipeline of skills from our communities and education sector. It’s important because we want to make a positive impact on society and play our part in educating and inspiring future generations.”

Mentors assigned to each Kickstart placement also benefit from ongoing support and can sign up to a professional development Level 3 mentoring qualification. 

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