“I left college at the start of 2020. I didn’t feel like A-Levels were the right choice for me and I was struggling with my mental health.

 “After that, I didn’t have any luck finding work. I went to several interviews that I felt went well, however I just never got over the line due to my lack of work experience.

“I felt I could be good at a desk job because I’m very tech-savvy and I’m good at problem-solving, but I wasn’t sure if it was a role I would enjoy. In April 2021, I found out about the Kickstart Scheme and heard about a role in the HR Rewards team at JD Sport.”

After interviewing Sam, JD Sports offered him a Kickstart placement, a six-month paid job with an employer, funded by the Government, that helps young people to gain experience and build their skills.

“My team did a fantastic job of settling me in and training me up. The culture at JD is incredible, they make sure everyone is always happy in the workplace.

“I have felt fully respected as an equal since day one of the Kickstart scheme, despite having no experience in a work environment, which has helped boost my confidence.

Sam is also being supported by The Prince’s Trust on his Kickstart placement.

“We have employability skills sessions with The Prince’s Trust while I’m at work, and the subjects of the sessions are very useful for employability planning. For example, we had one recently about how to use social media professionally and how to properly manage them for employment purposes.

Before Kickstart, when I saw office jobs come up, I didn’t have the requirements for them. Kickstart is great because it’s a placement for 16 to 25-year-olds with minimal experience. I know for a fact I wouldn’t have got a role like this without the support of JD Sports and the Kickstart Scheme.

“Kickstart is an incredible opportunity for young people my age to get a boost in their career path as it gives you the chance to explore different job opportunities without needing lots of experience to land a role that interests you. If it wasn’t for Kickstart I may not have found out how much I love working in the Rewards team in an environment like JD, and I can’t praise it enough for the opportunity it gave me!”