Just this week I met 7 wonderful young people, full of life, enthusiasm and all wonderfully unique wishing to complete Birmingham’s Kickstart Programme this year.
This year’s programme would’ve been slightly different to last years as I am fairly new to Springboard and the timescales was tight. Having said, all 7 candidates had completed their mission, through an online provider, Basic Food Hygiene and Basic Health and Safety, normally an external provider would come in and work with the young people but this was a quick solution and still had the same outcome 7/7 passes for both courses! Not only that, but they managed to create some amazing prom dresses out of a newspaper, post it notes and elastic bands – team building at its finest as well as presenting their creations to the rest of the group.
There were spaghetti towers and marshmallow bricks, as well as blind folded assault courses (no one was hurt – I promise!). The group excelled themselves when we visited the Crowne Plaza in the city centre, showing maturity and respect for the business. They asked insightful questions and acted wiser than their young years, this can also be said for when they got a tour of the Hilton Metropole. Not only did they all beat me to the venue in the morning but they treated the tour with the upmost respect when walking through working departments such as the kitchens, ensuring not to cause any disrupt.
Throughout the programme confidence built day in day out - they took part in mock interviews with myself and Kerry and quite frankly blew us away with their professionalism and insightful questions. They also realised that skills they would not relate to the working environment make them very employable – such as dancing, singing and attending church.
The next three weeks will see them all complete a two-week placement in various hotels across the city in varying roles. I have no doubt that they will excel themselves and showcase their wonderful abilities while fulfilling this part of the programme.
I can’t wait to hear back from their placement providers how they all got on and to have a wee celebratory mocktail at TGI Friday’s.
The next 6 months I will endeavour to support and provide industry knowledge as much as I can to these young people because they have supported and taught me (apparently I am now old?!) this past week on my first programme with Springboard!
By Andrea Hardy