Swindon & Wiltshire Business News

Social enterprise offers more kickstarter opportunities for young people

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Sophie Taylor, Cameron Packer, Sadie Sharp, and Phoebe Jerman


Four young people have joined The Platform Project in Swindon as part of the government’s Kickstart programme, and there are four more vacancies available before the scheme finishes in December.

The Kickstart Scheme provides funded roles to create new jobs for 16 to 24-year-olds on Universal Credit as a way of reducing the risk of long-term unemployment.

Each young person will work for 25 hours a week for six months in paid entry-level roles which help them launch their careers.

The Platform Project has created a range of roles across the business including administration, IT, marketing, youth work and videography, and after a number of successful placements, the project are looking for more young up-starters.

Sadie Sharp, founder of The Platform Project said: “We are thrilled to have been able to welcome these four young people as paid members of the staffing team.

"It is so difficult in this current economic climate for young people to get a job without any work experience, but our rapid growth has meant that we have been able to create really substantial roles to help them launch their careers.

"They have been invaluable in helping us develop the organisation.”

Nineteen-year-old, Cameron Packer, joined The Platform Project to fulfil an IT and systems administration assistant role.

He hopes this will help him gain a better understanding of how IT systems and procedures work in an organisation.

Cameron said: “I recently finished a complete website re-design for the project and gained some really great experience to date.”

Sophie Taylor and Phoebe Jerman are both 22. Sophie is a graduate from the University of Kent and Phoebe went to Reading University.

Sophie’s role is as an online publishing assistant and she explained: “I was introduced to a great supportive team, who taught me how to use a whole variety of new programmes and equipment.

"I’ve been introduced to website builders like IONOS and have been managing the #iDare youth magazine & blog website. I never thought I’d end up in a job that I would love so much and in such a short space of time too.”

Phoebe said, having grown up in a family of teachers, she had always contemplated becoming a teacher herself, but struggled to find entry-level roles that would help her build relevant experience, so when the role of a youth work assistant came up she jumped at the chance.

“My advice to anyone thinking of engaging with The Platform Project as a Kickstarter is that they really know how to develop young people and do everything they can to help you grow, so just get stuck in and apply for any roles that come up – it’s a great place to work.”

The oldest member of the new Kickstarter team is 23-year-old Joshua Austrie, who said he has moved around a fair bit in his life, had several different schools, but finished his formal education at Swindon College, now Swindon New College.

He’s only just joined the project and said from the moment he stepped through the door, he was greeted with friendly faces.

“I initially applied to be a videographer, but Sadie also saw how learning social media and marketing would benefit me in my longer-term career goals, so I now combine both.

"I am usually quite reserved, but I already feel like I’m being taken out of my shell and it’s been refreshing to break out a little.”

Phoebe and Cameron have been with The Platform Project for almost six months and are about to move on into further education and employment, leaving vacancies open for a new IT administrator and youth work assistant.

The Platform Project are also recruiting for two additional Kickstart roles, one as a marketing assistant and another as an administration assistant.

Sadie said: “These roles are so critical for our business as we are growing so quickly – we need people to join us to get involved in deciding how we work and these roles have loads of scope to grow with the organisation beyond the Kickstart scheme.”

The Platform Project, now in its fourth year, is a social enterprise that helps prepare young people for the work environment and take their next steps into a career, with 89 percent of the young people they work with moving on into paid work, further education or self-employment within six months.

Pictured: Sophie Taylor, Cameron Packer, Sadie Sharp, and Phoebe Jerman