Kickstart: Empowering the workforce
After being made redundant from her retail role at Debenhams, Rabiah joined Granby under the Kickstart Scheme to gain experience in customer service. This led to a full time position in our inbound Customer Service team. She’s one of three Kickstarters who we recruited into high quality roles at our Blackburn site, while others have gone on to secure roles at other local businesses.
What was Kickstart?
Kickstart was a government funded scheme that aimed to support young people aged 16 to 24 back into work.
It provided opportunities to people who didn’t have much experience of work, and also people like Rabiah who needed to get experience in a different role or sector.
Granby supported this programme enthusiastically – we offered 15 placements, mainly in Operations, and we were willing to take more if the opportunity arose. Sadly, the scheme was closed in December 2021.
Rabiah’s Kickstart experience
“I saw an advert for Kickstart and thought it sounded good. The scheme supported me and helped me secure a job. It gave me the experience I needed for a new career,” said Rabiah.
“My role now is very different to what I knew. Working at Debenhams, I was customer-facing but it was retail. I had experience in customer service but it’s very different here. For a start, we use technology more.
“I spend a lot of time in the OrderSure module of SCOPe [Granby’s fulfilment system] and Microsoft Excel. I still have a lot of client contact, taking calls and answering email queries.
“The programme was quite structured. While I was on the scheme, my assessor would come in every 2 or 3 weeks and we’d review modules I was working through, checking off things like interpersonal skills and tasks I was completing.”
Customer Service experience
“I worked on a lot of different clients during this time, across all our services – 3PL, promotional marketing, reverse logistics and contract packing. I was tracking order queries, editing orders on behalf of clients and their customers, and supporting field teams for retail and public sector clients.
“This went on for 6 months. At first, I was working part time – 25 hours a week – which was covered by government funding. But Granby asked if I wanted to increase my hours and they paid this portion of my wage. When the six month scheme was up, I applied for a permanent full-time position that had come up, and got it!”
“During the pandemic, I was supporting field teams who were testing volunteers to gather COVID-19 data for the government,” said Rabiah.
“I made sure their requests for PPE, lone worker devices and other equipment were fulfilled. They can place the orders themselves, but we’re here to help so sometimes I ordered stock on their behalf.
“I also support some big retail brands like Nespresso, Avanti and Homepride, and B2B organisations like Knauf. Many of these clients require their customer service team to have an understanding of their products and services, including some technical knowledge. I had to pass my training for these.
“I really enjoy this role – I get to talk to people and a lovely client can make your day! It’s not always going to be easy – you need patience. Even if people don’t get the answer they’re looking for, they’re usually grateful you tried to help.”
What Kickstart meant to Granby
At Granby, we thought Kickstart was a brilliant idea. It’s sad that it’s ended – it had such an impact on young people’s futures. We’ll be looking out for whatever is taking its place.
It allowed us to:
- Create 15 temporary jobs in Blackburn, a deprived area
- Created three brand new full time positions
- Support young people starting out on their careers
- Encourage a good work ethic and reward excellence
- Support the themes of the Social Value Framework
All 15 of our Kickstarters lasted the entire duration of their placement through the scheme; three of them remain at Granby – in Customer Service (Rabiah), Operations (Lewis), and Warehousing (Fabian). Other participants went into full time work elsewhere, using their experience at Granby to secure roles for themselves.
A representative of Newground Together, which co-ordinated the Kickstart scheme, said of our approach: “All of this would not have been possible without the dedication of Granby’s managers and the staff and the exceptional support and commitment.”
Our Kickstarters were given lots of support from the Granby team to seize this opportunity and be successful.
- We inducted them, trained them and made them feel at home.
- We offered support and advice, which helped Kickstarters to gain skills, develop confidence in themselves and the scheme.
- No-one was pushed beyond their capabilities, but they were encouraged to embrace the opportunity as something that would help them in the future.
All the Kickstarters were able to gain new experiences of working life, including getting paid, booking holidays, being trained.