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The Creative Access Spotlight series

The Creative Access team has grown and with so many great new additions, we’re letting you in behind the scenes. We’re excited for you all to know a little bit more about our roles. So, grab a cuppa, sit back and relax while we shine the first CA Spotlight on our brilliant Kickstart Coordinator.

Can you introduce yourself to us?

I’m Yasmin Hemmings and I am the Kickstart Coordinator at Creative Access.

Could you describe your role in a little more detail?

I lead on Creative Access’s involvement with the Kickstart programme, which is a government-led scheme for 16-24 year-olds who are on Universal Credit. Creative Access is a Kickstart gateway, which means that we take applications on behalf of employers and submit them to the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP). We’re working with a lot of employers and we’ve had just over 200 placements approved across more than 70 employers, including the Whitechapel Gallery, Curtis Brown, Paines Plough and The Young Vic theatre.

Some of the Kickstart roles that are being created sound so cool, like being a Junior Curator at Twitter!

My day-to-day role consists of speaking with employers who are interested in applying for a Kickstart role through Creative Access. I also prepare Kickstart applications to be sent to the DWP, and then further down the line I support employers with their Kickstart placements to help make sure that it all goes smoothly, as well as help them liaise with Job Centres. Once employers have informed me about hiring someone, I’ll then register the new starter and get in touch with them about our Kickstart support programme which consists of multiple training sessions at the start, middle and end of their placements.

What’s your favourite thing about your role?

I love it when an employer lets me know that they have found someone for their role. Knowing that this person who has not been in work for a long time now has a role with a really exciting and creative company is so fulfilling. Hopefully, with their Kickstart placement, they’ll be able to find something beyond this too.

Also, because I run the induction programme for the new starters, I get to meet them, and it’s lovely to be able to put a face to the name.

I was job searching during the pandemic and I can appreciate just how difficult it is, even though I had seven years of experience, so I can only empathise with those coming out of education and trying to get their foot in the door.

What previous experience do you have?

I am a former Creative Access intern for the London Symphony Orchestra, where I worked in their education team and in-house record label. Since having that opportunity of working for an education team I really wanted to follow that line of work and offer projects to those who may not normally get involved in creative activities.

I then moved to English National Opera and worked in their education team, and after that, I became Learning & Participation Producer at the Philharmonia Orchestra where I looked after projects aimed at schools, universities and music hubs. My previous role to this one at Creative Access was Schools Engagement Manager for the Barbican Centre. It’s always been about connecting people to creative opportunities.

I think a lot of people don’t realise that this scheme is completely free to employers; they can get someone into their organisation and support them in the world of work.

My current role combines my professional experience with my personal experience outside of work, where I’m one of the Directors of a volunteer organisation called Young People in the Arts which is a networking organisation for people taking their first steps into an arts-based career. We run events which allow like-minded people to meet each other and network, as well as panel discussions that are about hot topics in the arts, such as diversity and sustainability.

Can you tell us more about Kickstart and why you’re passionate about it?

So, the pandemic has massively impacted the jobs landscape and I think the Kickstart scheme is a wonderful scheme. It supports people who might not have been able to find a job otherwise and it’s supporting new roles to be created. These jobs wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for the scheme. It offers 16–24 year-olds the chance to not be so negatively affected by the pandemic.

I love it when an employer lets me know that they have found someone for their role.

I was job searching during the pandemic and I can appreciate just how difficult it is. I can only empathise with those coming out of education and trying to get their foot in the door. I think Kickstart definitely helps and I’m really keen to speak to employers and encourage them to sign up. I think a lot of people don’t realise that this scheme is completely free to employers; they can get someone into their organisation and support them in the world of work.

Finally, and totally unrelated to your job, what’s your favourite animal?

My favourite animals are cats. I love them. I grew up with four lovely Birman cats, they’re long hair pedigree cats. However, since I moved out of my parents, I’ve developed an allergy to cats, so despite them being my favourite animal I’m also very allergic to them, so I can never probably own them myself!

We are continuing to make monthly applications for Kickstart roles and welcome new employers who want to participate in the scheme. For further details, check out our Kickstart page here.

To view our Kickstart opportunities click here.