Developing the careers of young people
As part of the government’s Kickstart Scheme in 2020 / 2021, we joined a consortium of 59 other organisations – 44 of which were from the housing sector – to offer jobs to people on Universal Credit, aged between 16-24, across England and Wales.
The consortium was led by Clarion Housing Group, who helped to secure roughly £6 million in funding to create the roles where 100% of national minimum wage was paid by the government for the 6-month work placement. The successful recruits were provided with support and training throughout the process and every young person was assigned a mentor to help them to develop basic work skills and access additional opportunities.
Out of the 11 talented young people who joined us through the scheme, 9 stayed on with PA, pursuing careers in areas such as youth work, business administration, data management, and housing management.
This has been an outstanding success as some of our Kickstarters were offered longer term roles with us before their placements were completed. For example, Lucy Hill started as a Tenancy Solutions Apprentice and Marco Cardoni joined us permanently as Junior Communications Officer.
“I knew I wanted to do something that gave back to the community, and when this opportunity arose, it introduced me to the world of social housing. This apprenticeship almost seems made for me. I like a challenge, and in this role, I work on totally different cases every day, which always keeps things interesting. It's definitely the best job I've had so far.”
Lucy Hill, Tenancy Solutions Apprentice
“I hope that my story can inspire other young people who perhaps feel a bit directionless at the moment, or as if they are not really getting anywhere with their passion projects. Finding an enjoyable career path may seem unlikely sometimes, but it is not impossible.”
Marco Cardoni, Junior Communications Officer
Then, encouragingly, 7 more former Kickstarters began their Level 3 apprenticeship contracts with us. They included Chloe Dalrymple, who will be completing the Chartered Institute of Housing’s apprenticeship in Housing; and Samuel Kydd, Callum Shepherd, and Drew Newman, who went into apprenticeships in Business Administration. Meanwhile, Harry Webster-Aikman and Brandon Rahul are training to be Data Technicians, and Maryann Ezeh is completing her apprenticeship in youth work.
“Kickstart is a really good initiative. I had been on maternity leave from a different job role, which I had been in for about 6 years and knew I needed a change. I found it quite daunting to look for a new job, but when the jobcentre told me about the Kickstart Scheme opportunity at PA Housing at a day’s notice, I jumped at the chance.
“I’ve received so much support from both the teams at Clarion and PA Housing. There’s always someone willing to offer help and advice. It has been a welcoming experience, allowing me to settle in easily. I’ve never been treated as someone new, but rather as an established member of the team. My role as a Community Investment Apprentice allows me to work flexibly to fit around childcare. I’m looking forward to completing my apprenticeship and experiencing new things and working with different teams, as I enjoy learning so much. I love the team I work with and being able to work directly with residents.”
Chloe Dalrymple, Community investment Apprentice
“The Kickstart Scheme taught me about office etiquette, and it got me used to being in a work environment. It did a lot to develop my social and professional skills too because as somebody with autism, I can sometimes find communication more difficult.
“I'm glad I'm doing an apprenticeship rather than studying at university because it's more my learning style. It allows me to pick up practical skills as well as gain some theoretical knowledge.”
Brandon Rahul, Data Analyst Apprentice
“We’ve loved being a part of the Kickstart Scheme; and to be able to offer these young people, who many of us have got to know well, the opportunity to move forward in their chosen careers is what PA Housing is all about.”
Emma Macnish, Assistant Director of HR and People Strategy
As an organisation, we pride ourselves in giving talented young people the opportunities and the experience they deserve. By developing their skillsets, we can ensure that they are well-equipped for the world of work, which could potentially allow them to become the next leaders in social housing. This way, we can secure the future of our industry and continue to provide affordable homes for generations to come.
Although the government’s funding for more applications to the Kickstart Scheme ended in December 2021, we were enthused by its astounding success for our business. Therefore, we are dedicated to continuing this good work with our current apprenticeship scheme and many more similar initiatives in the months to come.