Connor, aged 23 from Greater Manchester, graduated from university in 2019 and started to look for work in early 2020. However because of the pandemic he found it difficult to get a job and was unemployed for a year. Now thanks to the Kickstart scheme he is working in a role he enjoys and getting relevant experience he hopes will help him land his dream job in games design in future.

Connor said: “The pandemic made looking for a job difficult, I was out of work for 12 months in total and it was really hard. My Job Coach in the Job Centre referred me to the Kickstart scheme and told me about roles he thought might be suitable for me.

“I’ve always been good at anything to do with computers so when a role came up with Pets at Home that involved IT I applied and luckily was successful. I’ve been there since March, initially working as an IT Service Desk Analyst and now in administration, I really like working with data and am enjoying it.”

The Government’s Kickstart Scheme was launched in the summer of 2020 in response to rising young unemployment and the impact of coronavirus. The scheme is aimed at 16- to 24-year-olds currently on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment who can access a six-month paid placement for at least 25 hours a week.

As part of the Kickstart placement Connor is supported by The Prince’s Trust with workshops and one to one sessions that provide employability support and advice to help him secure a job when his placement ends.

The help of The Prince’s Trust has been great; the workshops are all about career building and setting me up for the future after Kickstart. I also have a buddy within Pets at Home who is my go-to person if I have any issues, its great having that point of contact and he sometimes just drops me a message to see how I’m getting on.

“This is my first proper job so I didn’t have any expectations of what it would be like, I think the skill I have developed most so far is teamwork. In future I would love to get a job in the video game industry or anything working with computers and now I have some real work experience hopefully that will be easier.

“I’d definitely recommend Kickstart, its tough to get a job at the minute so to be able to get work experience and have employability support through The Prince’s Trust at the same time is an all-round great package!”