In celebration of Social Mobility Awareness Day, which takes place on 16 June 2022, we are sharing stories from some of the organisations that are committed to bringing about positive change.
Our first blog comes from Lennon Ball, telling his story of how being employed at Phoenix through the recent Kickstart Scheme (a government-funded scheme to help 16-24 year olds on Universal Credit into employment) really did ‘kickstart’ his working life.
“I left college at 18 with a plan to get a job and start earning. I was actively looking for work but my caring responsibilities and Covid made my search really difficult. I applied for numerous jobs, mainly shop work but I wasn’t even getting responses. No one viewed my caring experience as valuable experience in the real world, it seemed that they couldn’t get past my lack of relevant work experience. This resulted in me having to rely on Universal Credit.
I was feeling very low about this when I met Vicki at Redditch Job Centre as part of a Kickstart open day. She told me I didn’t have to worry about my lack of office experience or my lack of qualifications, my potential was what really mattered. Given my low confidence at that point, this new perspective – having someone see me for me – helped me to feel motivated. Phoenix were willing to see my potential where others hadn’t looked.
Joining Phoenix was still hard; my parents do not come from a professional background and this was my first real job. COVID-19 and everything that came with it made the transition into work much more difficult. Phoenix provided me with all of the equipment to work remotely but as there was very little space for me to work from home they let me work from the office within the Covid regulations.
I found my first role within HR really challenging so after reviewing this with me, Phoenix gave me the opportunity to experience some other areas. I re-found my confidence working in the post room where the clearly defined tasks and a structure suited me. I’ve now moved on to working in IT desktop support and I love it. I’ve joined the on-site gym, attending with another member of my team most days and I’m also eating much better through the healthy free lunch provided.
My 6 month Kickstart experience ended in May 2022 and I am very happy to still be working at Phoenix. I’m looking forward to hopefully starting an Apprenticeship in IT to further develop my skills. Kickstart and Phoenix have given me opportunities that I didn’t think were open to me, helping me realise my own value, rediscover my own confidence and enjoy work/life more. What’s really great is that I can do all of that and still maintain my caring responsibilities.”
Want to join in the conversation on Social Mobility Awareness day? Visit Making the Leap’s resources and share your own activities on social media using the hashtag #SocialMobilityDay