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Careers Europe Fintech Spotlight

Kickstart Scheme: Kickstarting a Career in Fintech

As the UK government’s Kickstart scheme comes to an end, The Fintech Power 50 has hailed its success in helping to launch early careers within the fintech community.

When the pandemic sparked widespread job insecurity, the UK Government provided a beacon of hope with its Kickstart Scheme for young people on Universal Credit. The £2billion scheme was run by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) who worked with gateway providers to help employers create jobs for 16- to 24-year-olds.

The Fintech Power 50 became one of the first gateway agencies approved by the DWP to distribute funding and, until the scheme closed in August, has helped connect fintech firms across the UK with young talent.

The programme offered a £1,500 grant for companies to host a six-month placement for ‘Kickstarters’ with their wages paid in full. Wages were paid for a 25-hour working week at national minimum wage, including national insurance and pension contributions.

Sian Morris, head of talent at The Fintech Power 50 said: “The Fintech Power 50 was pleased to be participating in the Kickstart Scheme as a Government Gateway to help launch early careers within the innovative fintech community across 50 participating companies, helping to place 140 previously unemployed young people between the ages of 16-24 years old working in various exciting remote and on-site roles nationwide.

“Many of the various types of placement roles were junior marketing manager, customer success assistant, digital marketing assistant, junior project coordinator, junior support technician, junior data analyst, junior software engineer, junior business analyst, junior web designer, sales admin, account executive, finance and admin assistant.”

The scheme’s success
  • Over £1million in grants received and paid out to participating Kickstarters
  • A total of 50 companies took part in hosting six months placements hiring 140 young, previously unemployed people in to the government funded Kickstart scheme
  • 58 converted into permanent positions after the scheme
Growing teams

Grant Sidwell, CEO and founder of UK payment firm Tytonical, said: “The scheme has helped us grow the team by enabling us to take a chance on a young person whom we wouldn’t usually have felt taking a gamble on. They are now a valuable addition to the team.”

While Rajen Madan, founder and CEO at fintech consultancy Leading Point, said: “The scheme has helped us build out more of our marketing function in-house. The Kickstarters have helped us with design work, website, marketing and content. Each of them have developed skills and taking on next/additional
responsibilities and areas of focus aligned to their interest.”

Tosin Oke, director of SME sales at payments facilitator Payoneer, estimates the Kickstart Scheme “helped the business realise over $11million in volume which is highly significant for the company financially, while also creating more effective flows for the sales team which are more customer centric and generate
higher revenue for the company.”

Striking gold

Jack Lewis, operations manager at Yoello, said: “The fact that our Kickstarter started on a six month Kickstart role as a junior sales executive and now holds the title of senior business development manager on a permanent basis is testament to his achievements at Yoello. We know we struck gold finding him and want him to know how much he is appreciated.”

Finally, Grace Robinson, managing director at virtual assistant firm Eden Assistants, said: “The kickstart
really was just that – a great jump start to getting my business moving. With the help of my new assistant
via Kickstart I was able to move forward on projects I hadn’t previously had time for. Having an extra pair of hands meant my business could grow as we could take on more clients and keep our high levels of service. I also enjoyed the mentoring and getting to know a local young person.”

Companies weren’t the only benefactors. Not only did the Kickstart scheme provide a job for those on Universal Credit, it also helped many open themselves up to a new experience.

Employee stories
Chloe kickstarter
Chloe

Fellow Kickstarter Chloe Armstrong says: “Being introduced to the Kickstart Scheme was one of the best choices I have made in my career. It enabled me to learn about the fintech and recruitment industry as well as email and content marketing which has led me into the world of email marketing automation.”

Kickstarter
Callum

Callum Parry graduated from the University of South Wales in 2020 with a degree in Information Technology before continuing on to attain a Higher National Diploma in Information Communication Technology. But despite these qualification, without any work experience he found it difficult to apply for roles.

“Keen to get some experience in the IT industry and get my IT career started, I applied for the Kickstarter position at Confused.com. Most other employers and recruiters at the time were asking for a significant amount of experience that I just didn’t have.

“So the Kickstart scheme was a great opportunity for me to get my foot in the door. My manager, Cameron, provided me with a wide range of training and has been a great help in developing my skill set further. He’s allowed me to allocate time out of my working day to focus on completing numerous training courses which have really helped me grow.

“I’m so glad I kicked off my career journey at Confused.com in 2021. It’s introduced me to so many new opportunities and opened a lot of doors for me, both within the company and the wider IT industry. My experience working on the Support Desk team has enabled me to secure my new role at Confused.com as a Graduate Support Engineer. And it’s also opened me up to other career paths that I could pursue in the future.”

Success for TFT

The Fintech Times’ journalists Tyler Pathe and Francis Bignell also both began their careers as Kickstarters.

Pathe said: “The Kickstarter programme served as an important stepping stone into an industry I don’t
believe I would have otherwise entered. It tested my knowledge and abilities in a whole new way, and I will always be in debt to the opportunities it has generated for me in the almost two years since.

“I began our training together with other Kickstarters and was soon getting to grips with a fascinating-yet-complex industry. Fintech moves so quickly, and it’s been really interesting to see how my personal and
professional abilities have developed just as fast due to this programme. I really don’t think that I would be where I am today without the Kickstart. And of course, I am forever grateful to the team at The Fintech Times for their unwavering support and belief in me.”

Author

  • Francis is a journalist and our lead LatAm correspondent, with a BA in Classical Civilization, he has a specialist interest in North and South America.

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