Success with the Kickstart programme

Success with the Kickstart programme

Upstart supported 24 young people to develop skills through the Government’s Kickstart programme, leading to jobs at top organisations including Sky Sports and the Economist. This is a remarkable achievement for this small charity which is committed to opening doors to the world of arts and media. We also supported 31 young people from other organisations through the formation of a peer support network.

Voice is an online culture magazine for young people ( From February 2021 to September 2022, Voice has offered 6-month paid placements to 24 unemployed young people to enable them to gain experience of the media sector and improve their career prospects. 

The creative and cultural industry is notoriously challenging to enter and often requires experience that favours those able to work in unpaid positions. Voice is proud to have supported a very diverse group of young people to explore the industry and develop their skills. All had suffered from the impact of Covid on their employment opportunities, and they were able to use this experience to ‘kickstart’ their next steps.

“Participating in Kickstart has made a huge impact on my professional life as I have been able to find a new job with Sky Sports as a result of my time in this role with Voice.”

“I gained a lot of confidence and was able to develop my passions in music interviews and storytelling. Voice gave me connections, new skills, and people that I can call on in times to come.”

Each Kickstarter followed a 6-month training and work experience programme in journalism and media skills, with individual mentoring and group sessions. We also ran sessions on GDPR, wellbeing at work, safeguarding and basic first aid. 

Over half of Voice Kickstarters have moved into employment, with others pursuing post-graduate education or freelance careers. Some have gained work in major media organisations such as Sky Sports and The Economist, others now work with other cultural organisations including Edinburgh Festival Fringe, artist management companies and tech companies.

What did Voice Kickstarters achieve?

Our Kickstarters worked on Voice Magazine as trainee journalists, media sub-editors, project assistants and social media coordinators. In these roles, they were responsible for news, opinion and review writing, multimedia journalism and promoting their work on social media. They learned how to conduct interviews, peer edit work and gained press accreditation to cover live events such as COP 26, Mozilla Festival, Brighton Fringe and Edinburgh Festival Fringe. 

Our media sub-editors and social media coordinator created and managed Voice’s media content, including podcasts, video interviews and promotional videos to support our editorial campaigns such as International Women’s Day, Anti-Bullying Week and LGBTQIA+ Awareness days. 

Having developed these skills, Voice Kickstarters reached some very impressive milestones, which gave them confidence and springboarded their reputations as young journalists.
Some examples are: 

  • Elle Farrell-Kingsley became a Youth Ambassador for the G7 Summit, where she hosted her own roundtable talks, bringing young people’s issues to those with the power to make positive change. 
  • Dulcie Thomas and Hamish Gray were press-accredited for COP 26 and attended the event in Glasgow, where they conducted interviews and wrote articles for young people about the talks they had attended. 
  • Flo Cornall, was press accredited for Eurovision 2022, where she attended many virtual press events and had her questions answered by UK contestant Sam Ryder. Flo covered Eurovision extensively and was granted early access to each song entry.

Voice Kickstarters also learned how to develop professional networks to support their careers in the arts and media. Faith Martin, a trainee journalist who specialises in music, built an extensive network of artists and music PR companies who contacted her to review their music or feature on her regular series, ‘New Music Friday’. 

Gaining employability skills
These achievements had a very positive impact on the Kickstarters. Many arrived with very limited experience of the world of arts and media and developed their knowledge, skills and employability. 

“Kickstart with Voice helped me improve my portfolio and allowed me to explore a new career path in animation.”

“During my time, there was always encouragement and freedom to take on new roles and responsibilities.”

“I enjoyed the social elements of the role such as working with others, researching new projects and being given the responsibility to lead.”

The Department of Work & Pensions (DWP) has told us:
Our employers have been key to the success of the Kickstart Programme, providing valuable work experience and support to lots of young people, helping them move forward in their future careers”. 

What’s next for Voice? 

Voice’s Editor, Tom Inniss, says of the programme:

“It has been both a joy and a privilege to work with our Kickstart trainees over the past 15 months. Each individual brought something new to the magazine – whether that be insight or lived experience – and demonstrated the importance of diverse experience and opinions within the creative and media sector”.

The Kickstart scheme has demonstrated how valuable industry experience is for young people at the early stages of their career, especially those with less access to opportunities or fewer contacts. The Voice team has also gained confidence in the training and support we can offer to aspiring young creatives from all backgrounds.

Thanks to this experience, Voice is now collaborating with higher education institutions to offer short-term placements for students and recent graduates. So far, these partnerships include Queen Mary University London, De Montfort University, and Nottingham Trent University. 

How you can help

Voice is always keen to develop links with other media outlets and work with established journalists willing to share expertise with young people. Please get in touch!