Shaping Portsmouth launches campaign to find 100 job opportunities for young people in 100 days
APPLYING for hundreds of jobs, in a time when unemployment among young people is rife, is a depressing experience.
For Olivia Ralph, who had just graduated from Brighton University, it was a particularly bleak time.
The 23-year-old moved back home to Portsmouth and was sending off scores of applications for vacancies across the country – to no avail. Most times she didn’t even get a response.
That was until she found out about Kickstart, a government scheme helping to get young people into work.
Now enjoying a placement at Pompey in the Community in the marketing team, Olivia is telling her story to encourage other young people to sign up.
It’s hoped her story will also encourage businesses to take on a young person as part of a new 100 in 100 campaign, aiming to create 100 job opportunities for young people in the city in 100 days.
Olivia said: ‘It does really get you down when you are more than qualified, have the experience and more importantly have got the passion and the will to work hard, and you just want to get a job and start your career.
‘It’s really disheartening when you don’t get any response and people don’t take you seriously.
‘It can really get you down. As a young person who had just finished uni, I had finished my education and I really wanted to get into the working world, be an adult, earn money and do something that I was passionate about.
‘But when people don’t reply it is really upsetting, you want to give up. You think what’s the point?
‘Then Kickstart came along. I heard about it and got involved with it and now I am as happy as I have ever have been because I am finally in an adult role which isn’t just a part-time job in a cafe somewhere.
‘I am doing something that I love everyday, with a Monday to Friday routine in the working world. I am meeting all these new people.
‘Importantly it doesn’t feel like work to me. I have never had a job like that before. It is exactly what I want to be doing with my life.
‘I am so grateful to have the opportunity and that there’s a system in place that has helped me get to the place where I want to be, or least the start of that place.’
Through the government Kickstart scheme, a work coach contacted Olivia every two weeks to find out how her search was going, offer advice and tell her about opportunities that might be suitable.
She said: ‘The scheme really helped me. I was applying for so many places and I just wasn’t getting any responses.
‘Going through the Kickstart scheme really gives you an opportunity to at least get a response, let alone actually get a placement.
‘One day the work coach rang and said there was a position at Pompey in the Community, the charity affiliated to the football club.
‘They said it was right up my street so I applied there and then. They interviewed me the next day and I got the job. It was great.'
Olivia is now urging businesses to consider offering placements to young people as the 100 in 100 campaign is launched.
The campaign, set up by Shaping Portsmouth in partnership with the city's education and business community, hopes to create 100 places by June 6.
Shaping Portsmouth’s chief executive officer Stef Nienaltowski said: ‘Olivia is a such a great role model for what this campaign is all about, as is Pompey in the Community which gave her the opportunity.
‘They are giving her such fantastic experience of the world of work.
‘It is tough for young people right now. But when you get committed businesses and match them with committed people, that’s when everyone will prosper.’