I was absolutely terrified of getting a job, but as soon as I started my Kickstart role, I loved it. I thought I’d be on Universal Credit for the rest of my life - now I know I want to work!

“The pandemic was really bad for my mental health. I got to the stage where I was just sat at home because my anxiety stopped me from going out. If I hadn’t pushed myself to get a job I would still be in my comfort zone at home. It wasn’t just the anxiety of socialising; I was also anxious about getting Covid.”

Molly’s job coach told her about the Kickstart scheme, which gives 6-month work experience placements to 16- to 24-year-olds on Universal Credit. Molly started her Sales Associate placement with the TJX Group in November 2021, one of the employers that partners with The Prince’s Trust to provide wrap around employability support for young people like Molly.

“I was a bit scared of starting Kickstart, but soon realised it was going to be great. My colleagues are lovely which helps me feel at ease in my job, and it gives me structure in my day and gets me out of the house.

“As well as working for 25 hours a week in the TJX store, I take online courses with The Prince’s Trust on topics like budgeting, CVs and interviewing, which will help me get a job after this. The Trust also do one to one support; if I get anxious at work, a Prince’s Trust youth support worker will schedule a session to talk to me about how I felt and how to work through it.”

“I always thought having a job would make my mental health worse and that I wouldn’t want to go in, but because I enjoy the work and I like talking to the people there, it’s actually helped my anxiety get better.

“I would tell other young people who are out of work and struggling with their mental health to push themselves, but also to take it slowly. Try and get out your house for a walk, then next time try to say hi to people that walk past you. Start thinking about what type of job you want and look for them, but know your limits too. I couldn’t have gone straight into a 40 hour a week job with my mental health, so I really appreciate the Kickstart placement.”