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DWP Kickstart Scheme Month 6

Harry Swayne

And here we are! The last Kickstart Scheme blog, just like I promised. This month, I thought it would be great to see a different perspective on the Kickstart Scheme. So, I sat down with Natalie, the Director of Naturally Social, to explore her journey with the scheme and find out why she decided to take part!

(N= Natalie, Director of Naturally Social)

Q: From your perspective, what is the Kickstart Scheme?

N: The Kickstart Scheme, to me, is an opportunity to bring talent into the team in a way that’s risk-free. But also allows us to give something back to the community, which is indicative of our brand anyway. Having that purpose behind what we do by bringing people into the company who need the experience to get onto the career ladder. That’s just a nice, decent thing to be able to do and we have the capacity to be able to do that. So, if those kick-starters stay with us – amazing. If not, then we want to be able to give them six months’ worth of really great experience that’s memorable but also allows them to go off and find work elsewhere.


Q: How did you find out about the Kickstart Scheme?

N: Good question. I think I was emailed by the local enterprise partnership about it. Our HR consultant also raised it with me, literally a few months before it launched.

I think we were quite early on getting involved with it. Then I looked it up on the website, and yeah that’s kind of where we are.


Q: When you were first introduced to the scheme, what were your initial thoughts on it?

N: What’s the catch? (Laughs.) No, it’s a really great opportunity to not miss.

The government would pay us to host, or hire, a member of staff that we could pick ultimately, we could choose.

The recruitment process was still the same, identifying the right candidate was still the same. We still had control over that, which is what I liked. As I said it’s risk-free! Being paid by somebody else, ultimately, I think it’s a good scheme.


Q: That follows into my next question; what made you want to hire through the scheme? Which, as you said, is risk-free, a good opportunity to give back and teach a new, upcoming person.

N: Yeah, exactly! So risk-free, it meant we could still control the recruitment process.
Some apprentice schemes, for example, I guess that person is placed with you, and you’re told who to have. But we could still put the job advert out, shortlist, recruit, hire and still have that control ourselves to find that right fit.

That’s an attractive element to it – and, I wanted to, it works both ways, doesn’t it? It means we help somebody else, but we’re getting help in the organisation at a time where we wanted to grow too.


Q: Describe your journey, from being introduced to the Kickstart Scheme, to hiring your first kick-starter.

N: The journey… was quite quick; we had a shedload of referrals. There was a delay from those referrals happening to getting some applications, but once we did, we could move quickly on it.

There was an open-ended date on it for closing that job. We were able to set up an interview quickly and the great thing was that there was no notice period for the people we were interviewing. They could almost start immediately.

So, we had a meeting and wrote up a job spec, sent it to the local enterprise partnership. It was online within a few weeks. We had lots of referrals from the job coaches, we could do a shortlisting, we obviously interviewed yourself, offered the job and a couple of weeks later you were here.

Since then, the support’s been good. The reimbursements are always on time… The exposure we’ve had through local MP’s has been beneficial as well. So, it’s been great.

"The Kickstart Scheme, to me, is an opportunity to bring talent into the team in a way that’s risk-free."

Q: How would you compare recruiting through the Kickstart Scheme to the traditional method of posting a job advert online?

N: Great question Harry. Naturally, there’s a specific pool of people that can apply for that role so that makes it very different. If we have our own vacancy we have to/can post it on LinkedIn, Indeed, social media, the website.

With Kickstart, its only specific candidates that can apply. Naturally, that will reduce our talent pool down, but the fact is it was all managed by them (Kickstart) anyway. So, they were doing our advertising for us, which is free!


Q: How have the Kick-starters you’ve hired adapted to Naturally Social?

N: Extremely well! Yes, extremely well. Harry has been a breath of fresh air. He’s (I’m using you in the second person here!) listened to everything that’s expected.

He’s keen to grow and develop in the company and sees and believes the values of what we’re trying to do. Which is all I want and ask for; he follows the processes and is invested in the company growth.

I see a really positive future for him in the company. {smiles}


Q: What benefits have you felt from utilising the scheme?

N: Obviously, there’s a financial benefit for that first six months. The opportunity to bring new talent in and then develop that talent.

I think it can be difficult to bring in members of staff who are fresh out of Uni, school, or college. But the opportunity to mould those individuals and grow with them… as a small business that only employs three people at the time the Kickstart scheme started, that is advantageous because you can grow together.


Q: Would you recommend the scheme to other employers?

N: Yeah, absolutely would recommend and would advise people to take it up.


Q: Last question! Are you glad you used the  Kickstart Scheme?

N: I am indeed. I wouldn’t have met Harry if I hadn’t and we wouldn’t have had support on the operational side of the business. We’ve been able to really grow in the last six months, and at the same time, cement the internal processes and procedures. So yes, I am glad to have used the scheme.


That’s that!

And that’s the interview! Many thanks to Natalie for taking part in this interview and for giving me this amazing opportunity. I can’t wait for when I start again!

If you’re curious about the Kickstart scheme, you can find out more here, and if you missed last month’s blog you can find it here!

Thanks for reading!

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