I Got Hired: Kickstart Project Assistant

Posted on: 11 July 2022 by Richard Finch in Student experiences

Criminology graduate Lucy Goddard talks about working as a Kickstart Project Support Assistant at the University of Liverpool.

Can you please state what your current job title at the University is and explain what your role involves?

My kickstart role at the University of Liverpool is ‘Kickstart Project Support Assistant’. I work within the careers and employability department alongside the Kickstart Project Manager. My role involves meeting and recruiting young people from the job centre. I attended government careers fairs and met many unemployed young people searching for an opportunity to learn and gain experience in their chosen field. I discussed their career goals and matched them with our available kickstart roles and then arranged interviews with the line managers. Another key part of my role is to support our 39 successful interns throughout the duration of their placements. I provide advice and guidance wherever needed. I also support my project manager by gathering information, creating and updating excel spreadsheets and performing administration duties.

What were you doing prior to Kickstart?

Prior to kickstart I was working in schools across Merseyside as a youth support worker. I left this position in September to search for a role more aligned with my career goals in social work. I applied for the Frontline social work programme and was successful. The programme has a start date of July 2022 which meant I essentially needed a ‘gap filler’ role while I waited for my start date. I initially started looking for a position in retail or hospitality, areas where I have previous experience. I discovered the kickstart role available at the University of Liverpool at the job centre, and I was immediately excited by the possibility of working on a University campus in an incredible city. This unexpected role has given me the opportunity to develop new skills and practise working in a professional environment. These valuable skills will help me throughout my career in social work.

What challenges have you faced whilst on placement and how have you overcome them?

In my initial few months, my biggest challenge was learning how to use new IT programmes such as excel, teams and office 365. To improve my skills, I completed various online learning courses on sites such as LinkedIn learning. I have now significantly advanced my IT skills, and find it easier to communicate with colleagues virtually.

What have you enjoyed most whilst working at the University?

I enjoy meeting new people and this placement has given me the opportunity to meet and network with people from all different departments in the University. This has given me an insight into the variety of work available within higher education and allowed me to connect with people who have different interests to me. I enjoy the community feel within the University as both the staff and students form a large and welcoming community. Being on campus is enjoyable, as there are often events and experiences to get involved with, which makes every day different and exciting.

What employability skills will you be leaving your placement with that you didn’t have at the start?

I believe I have improved on my networking skills since working at The University of Liverpool. In my role I liaise with staff and managers from varying departments in the University, which has allowed me to strengthen my connections. As I have been hybrid working for the duration of my placement, I have developed my time management skills and worked independently. Whilst completing my employability portfolio, I have learned about myself, my values and my learning styles. I have considered my strengths and weaknesses and this has helped me understand what areas I need to work on and which skills I need to develop. Being more self-aware will be helpful going forward in my career as I can reflect on my work and learn from mistakes.

What are your next steps when you complete your kickstart placement?

After my kickstart placement ends, I will begin working on the Frontline programme as a student social worker. As part of the programme, I will study for my masters in advanced relationship based social work practise with children and families and then go on to work full time as a social worker in training. I am looking forward to progressing my career and making a difference in people’s lives. 

Would you consider staying on in your current role or continuing to work in higher education?

If I did not have a position lined up for when I complete my placement I would have loved to stay in my role or apply for other internal vacancies. I never previously considered working in a University until I started this placement, however, this experience has shown how exciting and rewarding a career in higher education can be. I would definitely be open to returning to higher education in the future!

 Lucy Goddard