We like to think that the process we offer to jobseekers is unique. It comes in two parts. Part one is unRecruitment. Part two is Radical Employability.
Why do we do it?
For us, employment and the Kickstart Scheme is not just about getting people into jobs. It's about enhancing long-term employability–which is incidentally at the core of the government's mission–and we're looking at a whole generation who have faced some big challenges in the past few years. We believe that by offering an approach to employment that's different from the norm, we can offer much-needed support and guidance to brilliant young jobseekers who may have become disheartened by the current employment market. For employers, we can source and place great candidates who may otherwise have slipped through more traditional recruitment processes.
We know that many young people have 'training fatigue', and that still more have done the training, got the certificate and then had nowhere to take it. Our process deconstructs the traditional job application and interview process and replaces it with something we think is more powerful. Also, it works at drawing out skills and abilities that individuals can take with them throughout their lives, into any job application.
We want to listen–to both jobseekers and employers–teach what we know and match brilliant candidates confident in their abilities and clear about what they have to offer, with companies who want good people who aren't going to leave after the honeymoon's over.
We talk about how interviews are such a weird and artificial construct, and that of course it's difficult to interview effectively and with integrity without practice. The sessions help with this.
We see that people are generally so much better at recognising and speaking about other people's brilliance than their own. So we encourage that, and practise it, before turning the spotlight back on ourselves. While acknowledging real barriers and challenges, we also encourage participants to ask themselves, 'What's my part in this? What am I doing (or not doing) that has resulted in me being in this situation?'
According to neuroscience, the brain actually cannot experience anxiety and curiosity at the same time. If you're suffering from anxiety, dialling up your curiosity can be a powerful way of shifting your mindset. We encourage participants to practise this in an imagined interview setting, getting curious about questions like, 'Why are they hiring? What might the interviewer be feeling?
How many of these have they done today? Why did they paint the wall that colour?' As weird as it may sound, this can remove the obstacle of anxiety around your own performance.
What is unRecruitment?
unRecruitment is our initial, informal training, which is optional at any point in a jobseeker's journey, whether you are on the Kickstart Scheme or not.
During two online sessions, participants are guided through a series of exercises. We ask them to challenge the way they think about employment, asking 'What can I give?' rather than just focussing on what's in it for them.
The sessions are relaxed. Participants are not assessed in any way and nobody's in competition with anyone else. Our aim is to provide a safe, structured space for young jobseekers to have a conversation; to discuss the issues they face, and guide them towards recognising and communicating key life skills that will help them towards their future career.
Overall, unRecruitment, consists of two online sessions and one piece of preparation. By the end of the sessions, participants will have created a Motivation Statement, which encapsulates everything they've learned and which they can take on into any future employment opportunities.
Many of our participants have expressed huge relief at being able to discuss challenges with their peers. For some, it's the first time they've talked to anyone other than a roommate or family member during the pandemic.
Part two of our process is Radical Employability. Again, not so much 'training'; more 'employability'. Our focus here is not just to make jobseekers employed, but to make them employable.
What does Radical Employability mean?
Basically, it's about more than just getting a person into a job, because if a person enters into an employment contract for a position to which they are not suited, for whatever reason, it's unlikely that their productivity will be at its best and it's also unlikely that they will stay in it. This is not a great situation for a jobseeker or an employer.
Our Radical Employability process encourages jobseekers to take full responsibility for how they're showing up. Our aim is to help each Kickstart trainee to develop their capacity to deliver extraordinary value with integrity to the organisations they join.