Young jobseekers in Wiltshire and Dorset haven’t let COVID hold them back in kick-starting new careers with Julia’s House, as they join our charity as part of the Government’s Kickstart employment scheme. 

Thirty young people were given the opportunity to take on a paid six-month trainee placement at Julia’s House in our high street shops and retail team, and they’ve already made a big impact.

“We’ve been blown away with the dedication and passion that our Kickstarters have shown since joining us in spring,” says Tracy Stanley, Julia’s House Retail Manager.  “They’ve been wonderful with our customers and a real asset behind the scenes in our shops, warehouse and retail office. We feel very lucky to have them on the team and we look forward to seeing their progression over the coming months.”

Jodie Symes

Kickstarter Jodie Symes was pleased to have the chance to build on her experience when she was offered a Retail Assistant placement at Julia’s House. Since being made redundant in 2019, the 24-year-old has struggled to find a job to fit around her life as a single mum to her young daughter.

“Being a new mum, I found it hard to find something that was flexible around nursery hours and also suited the skills I had learnt from my previous jobs,” Jodie says. “I took on seasonal roles, but I didn’t feel like I was meeting my potential, so I was really thankful when the Kickstart scheme started.”

She added, “I have been a different person since returning back to work and have enjoyed every moment so far at Julia’s House. I love working with people who are proud of the job they do, and I have learnt so much already in just a few weeks, which is all valuable experience I can add to my CV.”

The Government’s Kickstart employment scheme helps young people at risk of long term unemployment gain valuable skills. Salaries for the roles are paid by the Government, while Julia’s House children’s hospice provides training and experience in different aspects of the charity retail sector. Trainee roles for the 16 to 24 year olds vary from Sales Assistant positions on the shop floor, to Warehouse Assistant and Retail Assistant positions behind the scenes.

Peter Llewhellyn

Kickstarter Peter Llewhellyn, from Salisbury, was forced to isolate during the peak of the pandemic because of medication he takes for a health condition. For the 24-year-old, getting back to work has been a real boost:

“I basically haven’t been able to work for over a year because of the Covid outbreak,” says Peter. “Once things started opening up again earlier this year, I began to look for a role that would fit my skills and experience but I found it really difficult.

“When my work coach told me about the Kickstart scheme, I jumped at the opportunity as soon as I could,” he says. “I’ve really enjoyed working at the Julia’s House Salisbury shop. It’s been a huge relief to have consistent hours and it’s been great to get back into work again.”

Tracy adds: “We can only keep caring for seriously ill children and families because of the amazing support we get from our local community. It has been a real pleasure to be able to give something back and offer these young people the opportunity to gain valuable skills and experience that will help them in their future careers. We’re hopeful that we can give this opportunity to more young people later this year when these current placements have been completed.”

The Julia’s House shops help to raise vital funds to support our care for the most seriously ill children and their families across Wiltshire and Dorset.  Find your nearest Julia’s House charity shop and come say hello to our team!