Renee joined a two-week pre-recruitment training programme with Groundwork’s Youth Employment team in February 2021, after being informed about opportunities to work in nature by her coach at the Job Centre.

Despite feeling initially shy and reserved about the course, Renee had perfect attendance on the course and demonstrated a real drive and commitment to working in the green sector. Cemented by the employer insight sessions, which provided learners with the opportunity to hear from people working in the sector and ask them questions, Renee decided that a role in the Fencing & Landscaping team was the one for her.  She received support from Groundwork’s Employment team on the application and improving her interview skills. Renee was successful with her application and started her role as a Kickstart role on the 12th April 2021.

Over the next 6-moths Renee developed a range of new skills from tree planting, grounds maintenance and general labouring work.

As her Kickstart contract began to reach its end, the Employment team at Groundwork supported Renee with her next steps. It was at this stage Renee found out about a full-time role as a Labourer working with Groundwork’s Fencing and Landscaping team. This was a great opportunity for Renee to continue her work with Groundwork and secure full-time employment.

Contract Manager, Richard Gee, interviewed Renee for the Labourer role in the Fencing & Landscaping team,

“Renee was incredible on her interview. She was head and shoulders ahead of all the other candidates, despite her lack of work experience.”

Renee commented,

“I didn’t think I’d be in a job a year ago, I was sitting at home doing nothing when I got a call from the Job Centre saying they’d found me this and I thought, brilliant! I’d done construction in GCSE and really enjoyed it so was keen to give it a go.”

Richard added,

“1 year on and I am really pleased, Renee has come such a long way and is a great member of the team. She is on time and at work every day, works very hard and takes advice and guidance well.  We are currently supporting Renee with Driving lessons and supporting her vocational training”   

When asked about how she feels about her journey, new skills gained and her plans for the future, Renee commented

“I love my job; I get to be active everyday and move around different places. I’d like to progress up the ranks, ideally at Groundwork, if I can. My communication skills have really come along, before working here I didn’t talk to anyone outside of my house for 6 months and I found it very hard to talk to people, I wouldn’t even be able to call the doctors. Being at Groundwork has helped me talk to people and feel like I can approach someone without being really nervous.

The team here are great, my supervisor Gaz has been really supportive right from the beginning as I was quite nervous coming into the role as a girl, as there were no other girls here, but he made me feel really comfortable and shared different techniques which made carrying and lifting things easier. Mike is really inspiring too, he’s been here a long time and it’s clear he really takes pride in his work, which makes you want to do the same. And finally, I’m grateful to Richard, if he didn’t give me the chance, I’d probably still be at home doing nothing.”

Kickstart logo