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BLOG: My Kickstart journey so far

05 November 2021

By Jodean Hills, Kickstarter and Customer Services Trainee

Jodean Hills

I’m part of the Kickstart Scheme at Network Homes working as a Trainee in Customer Services six months. This Government scheme offers new job placements people aged 16 to 24 and is designed to build your skills in the workplace and help you gain experience to improve your chances of finding long-term work.

Jodean Hills

Before this role I’d been looking for a job for a while, so I was pleased my persistence had paid off both with Kickstart and winning 2021 Young People’s Award for my resilience!

My job hunting started in 2019, I got my first interview at a building supply company. I went to the interview in February 2019 which went well. They really wanted me to work for them as they kept phoning me to see if it was possible for me as I have cerebral palsy. In the end they couldn’t give me a job due to issues with safety at work.

Previously I had studied for a BTEC in Business which I got a double merit in. Though I didn’t want to go back to college as I wanted to get a job, but during the COVID-19 pandemic I decided to go back and re-do my GCSE in English whilst job hunting.

I’ve had cerebral palsy since I was our days old it affects my speech, but I never let my cerebral palsy get in the way of my life. Ever since I was 14, I begun to feel happy and confident with my cerebral palsy and since my 18th birthday I’ve learned to love it. But there is so much more to me than my cerebral palsy. 

Everyone has been so welcoming since I began working at Network and I’m hoping to build my knowledge around housing. I’ve already spent lots of time with my manager, Rachel who has shown me all the different parts of the business. I’ve been shadowing some of Customer Services Advisers at our Hertford office which I’ve really enjoyed as it helps to see how we engage with our residents.

She’s also helping me by making sure my CV and cover letter is up to date so that I can start applying for other roles once my six-month placement finishes. I’ve also attended interview training with Rachel that was really helpful and gave me lots of skills to use for the future.

The thing that I like about Network Homes is that everyone treats me with respect. You would be shocked at some of the stories I have of people treating me differently due to my cerebral palsy.

Over lockdown I have learned that you must enjoy life, people come and go but your true friends are in for the long run. Every day I went for a walk in my village and then I would Facetime a friend which was really important to me.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

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