My Kickstart journey at ECC, by Joe - Working for Essex

My Kickstart journey at ECC, by Joe

Essex County Council is proud to be part of the Kickstart Essex Gateway, and to date our Entry to Work Team has welcomed 64 young individuals into various roles across ECC, such as Mental Health Data Officer, Social Media Resourcing Coordinator, Corporate Strategy Team Assistant, Junior Performance Officer, to name a few.

The Government’s Kickstart scheme is designed for 16–24 year-olds who are at risk of long term unemployment and lasts for 6 months. The aim of the scheme is to ‘kickstart’ the individual into the working world with the view to secure longer-term employment. Within ECC we also offer a comprehensive training programme to compliment our new colleagues within their roles.

We met with Joe Williams who joined ECC on the Kickstart scheme as a Sustainability and Resilience Administrator and has recently secured himself a new role within his team on a longer-term basis.

Welcome Joe, please tell us about your time on the kickstart programme? What did your role involve?

I have really enjoyed my time on the Kickstart programme as a Sustainability & Resilience Administrator. I have been able to gain valuable experience in an interesting and developing sector within local governance, Environment and Climate Action, and feel that the work that I have been doing in this role has made a worthwhile contribution to my community. My role has primarily involved exploring opportunities to improve communications on environmental initiatives available for residents in Essex.

This has included writing social media posts and newsletter articles for the Love Essex social pages and monthly newsletter respectively, contacting suppliers to arrange advertising for our home composting initiative, and collaborating with my colleagues on campaigns related to litter and the circular economy.

How did you find out about your Kickstart opportunity? And, what motivated you to apply?

I found out about the Kickstart programme through my Universal Credit Work Coach. Earlier in 2021 I had come to the end of a temporary contract elsewhere and was feeling downbeat about my prospects in the COVID-hit job market. After a nudge from my work coach, reading about the Kickstart programme online and finding out that ECC were advertising opportunities via the scheme motivated me to apply for a few roles. I had spoken to relatives about ECC and gained an impression of the organisation as being a welcoming employer where you can develop a strong career.  Working in Environment and Climate Action was especially appealing because of how important this work is currently, on a global and not just a local scale.

The idea of working for my local community appealed to me as I am proud of where I am from and want to do my bit.

What are you most proud of so far in your Kickstart role?

So far, I am most proud of seeing content that I have produced uploaded onto official Love Essex channels. This has allowed me to develop my communications skills and made me feel like a valued member of the team. Being able to contribute my own ideas to campaigns and gaining feedback on my work has been a productive learning experience.

And now you’re moving on to a new role in ECC?

Yes, after a successful interview, I am now moving into a new role as a Circular Economy Officer within the BLUEPRINT team. I will be working with colleagues who I have already been able to collaborate with for the last few months, so I am excited to get started and be given more responsibilities. Encouragement to apply for the role from members of the team and resourcing gave me the confidence to put myself forward. I have always felt supported by my line manager, other colleagues, and the Entry to Work team throughout my Kickstart placement, which has provided me with a great network to progress and develop my skills.

What are your future career aspirations?

I am looking forward to starting in my new position and think that I could create a sustainable career in communications within local government. I would like to continue in roles where I feel that my work is helping people and the community around me. To be in a job where you can say that is very much one of my larger ambitions.

What advice would you give to anyone thinking about joining ECC?

The entire duration of my Kickstart placement has been based from home, working remotely with my colleagues. It is a testament to ECC and their employees that I have never felt alone or isolated throughout this process. The support I have been offered internally has been exemplary. I really feel like ECC is interested in helping me develop my career and provides a friendly, collaborative environment where this is possible. I would say that anyone who is interested in local governance and working for Essex should apply.

Find out more about our Kickstart opportunities and all our latest vacancies and, if you don’t see a role that matches what you’re looking for right now, please join our talent pool. Tell us about the type of roles you are interested in and we’ll notify you if they become available.

We look forward to receiving your applications!