Aug 21

Interview: how the Kickstart Scheme helped start my career in social care

Posted: 27 August 2021

We spoke with James Bloomfield-Stock as part of our #RecruitmentReady spotlight to find out how he utilised the Kickstart Scheme to get started working in the social care sector.

James started working in social care in March 2021 through the Kickstart Scheme. His first role was Finance Administration Assistant at Brunel Care, and as part of the scheme he’s now also moved onto another role within the HR department at the same organisation.

How did you first find out about the Kickstart Scheme?

I found out about the scheme through my work coach when I was on Universal Credit. She sent me a link to a finance job role at Brunel Care which I was ultimately successful in getting. I emailed the manager to apply for the role and had an interview the next day.

What was the interview process?

It was a video interview, and it was very friendly; it wasn’t an interrogation, it just felt like a friendly chat. I found out later that day that I’d got the job.

What did your role involve?

I was employed as a finance administration assistant which involved various tasks such as checking over invoices and statements and making sure it was all correct and paid for.

What support was there from the rest of the team?

As part of the Kickstart Scheme I was getting a lot of support from people and I had a specific person who was my mentor who would advise me on what to do on a day-to-day basis and was always there if I needed any help. They also provided me with a lot of one-to-one training, and I also had the standard induction training which everyone new to the organisation is provided with.

What was the biggest skill you learned in this role?

Attention to detail. That was very important because if you just mistype one number on an invoice for example it would cause a problem, so you need to be very spot on with that. It was good to develop that skill as it’s transferable for so many different roles. Other skills I’ve learned through the scheme include professionalism, as not having a job before you don’t know what to expect from the workplace, but now I know what to expect for the future in any new jobs.

What was your background prior to Kickstart, had you worked in social care before?

No, this was my first role in both social care and finance. Before this I had applied to join the army and after that it was a challenge to find work in any industry as so many applications ask for previous experience which I didn’t have. So, Kickstart is a huge help for that.

What first attracted you to this role in social care?

I was particularly interested in this role because it felt like a career path. I enjoyed the level of responsibility that was given to me from the get-go and I immediately felt like a valued part of the team. I enjoy working in the social care sector as I know I’m helping people.

What’s been the biggest learning curve starting in the social care sector?

Getting to grips with the structure of the organisation, how all the departments work together and the specifics of every person’s different role.

You’re now working in an HR role, tell us how that came about?

I was catching up with one of the HR business partners at Brunel Care about the Kickstart Scheme and they told me about the role. As part of the scheme I had help updating my CV and I was able to use the skills I had learned through my finance role to transfer to the HR role. In my new HR role I still get the same Kickstart support I received in my finance role.

What’s next after the Kickstart Scheme ends?

The Kickstart role lasts six months, but it’s been really good for giving me lots of experience and skills for applying to my next role. It’s been a very good stepping stone and I’d certainly be keen to stay in the social care sector if possible.

What advice would you give to anyone else considering a Kickstart role in social care?

To anyone applying I’d definitely encourage them to do it, it’s extremely valuable; it’s probably one of the best opportunities you’re going to get to start out your career. For someone just starting out I’d say use every opportunity you get to learn something and take advantage of all the support you get.

The Kickstart Scheme is a national government programme that provides funding to create new six-month jobs for 16-24 year olds on Universal Credit.

The National Care Forum has created a scheme in conjunction with Pathway CTM and Cohesion Recruitment to support the Kickstart Scheme among the social care sector.

Find out more on the Nation Care Forum website.