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Kickstart Scheme: Giving a new lease of life to young people

April 29, 2021
Covid-19 Updates
Merton Chamber

The Kickstart scheme was announced last year as a scheme to create new jobs for 16 to 24 year olds who are at risk of long term unemployment.

Gabrielle is currently working as a content and production assistant for Cactus City Studio. Her job entails creating blog posts, working on podcasts, and assisting the marketing team by curating a Days of Interest calendar and finding other organisations that support women in music for the organisation to collaborate with and follow.

Cactus City Studio is a community interest company which aims to increase representation, and promote safer spaces for women working in the music industry.

● I graduated from university with a degree in Media Skills focusing mainly on journalism and Television production last year. I thought once I graduated, I would be able to get a job and start my life. Well, Covid-19 had other ideas. World went into lockdown and everything shut. Along with that, went my dreams of becoming a journalist or a social media producer. I lost all hope and inspiration of getting a job. Everything I love doing, from blogging and writing to acting and filmmaking was put on hold. To top it all off, I wasn’t able to see any of my friends or family members as much as I wanted.

● I went for the job at Cactus City Studio because I am a music lover and I care about having equal opportunities for women in the music industry, and in general. I was born with a rare genetic condition, which has led to me having slow processing skills and minor learning disabilities. This has led to me having limitations in what I can and can’t do. I know what it is like to not have equal opportunities or have representation in music or media. I want to be able to help female music artists reach their full potential.

● There was a time where I was actually contemplating working in another industry. One being travel and tourism as a Cabin Crew member. I was also looking at combining my animal management diploma and my degree to be a wildlife filmmaker or wildlife journalist.

● Being able to work remotely has given me so much flexibility. I am able to work from the comfort of my bedroom and not have to worry about travelling to and from work during the pandemic. I can be outside in the fresh air whilst walking my two dogs in the fields near my family’s house or take a 12 minute car ride to the beach. There are definitely positives that outweigh the negatives. I get to learn more about an industry that I love, I have the opportunity to learn how to write songs, whilst writing my own blogs and creating short films. I always thought you had to live in London or Manchester to work as a creative, but you don’t.

● I'm so grateful for the kickstart scheme for giving me the experience working as a content and production assistant. For the opportunity to work a creative job in an ever growing, but very difficult to access, industry.

Sophie. She's working as SEO and content assistant at Cactus City Studio.

"How did I end up here? I really didn’t think at 23 years old, freshly graduated from uni that I’d be unemployed and have everything I’ve worked so hard for, be put on hold. The pandemic meant that I couldn't gig, which is maybe my favourite music related activity. Singing along to angsty bangers and throwing myself around on stage with my best friends felt like a distant memory. To top it off, my mum is clinically vulnerable so I couldn’t even get a ‘normal’ job.

I was determined to still find a job in music and hoped and prayed that a job would come up. If I’m honest I’m still pinching myself. Getting a job at Cactus City Studio in my beloved industry has given me a new lease of life. I'm excited to work with some incredible musicians who I respect so much and the best part is, I can do it all from home!

Being able to work remotely has meant that I can still go for a walk on the beach in my lunch break, or better yet, record some of my own music! I can still be part of the industry in the countryside. I am loving it! I get to make a difference to minorities in music, combining my two loves: music and feminism.

I’m so grateful for the Kickstart Scheme for giving me the experience of working in the music industry."

Salli Flaherty, our marketing specialist said: Cactus City is an organisation designed to create opportunities to work in music for women and maligned individuals. This extends to the improvement of social mobility throughout our business. I am delighted to offer an opportunity to nurture young minds in music marketing through the kickstart scheme.

Vanessa Threadgold, the Managing Director : The music industry has been heavily impacted by COVID-19. Many people thought they may need to retrain and leave the industry all together. The Kickstarters came to us with so much talent and enthusiasm, and they've done more for us than we could have imagined when we embarked on the scheme.

If you would like to offer a young person a new lease of life then please contact us at kickstart@mertonchamber.co.uk