United Utilities Kickstarts Liam’s career after his Stateside hopes dashed due to COVID

After the coronavirus pandemic quashed Liam Corby’s plans to move to America, he found himself unemployed and looking for his next steps. Thanks to United Utilities’ Kickstart scheme, he is now in an exciting new job role and learning valuable life skills at the same time.

Liam, 24, who lives in Warrington, left his job in 2020 with big plans to relocate to America when COVID-19 hit and all international travel was banned.

He said: “I studied criminology at university and spent a year of my studies in America which I loved and I made a lot of friends over there. I graduated in 2020 and I was really excited to have a graduate job in criminology lined up in the States but then the pandemic hit and it meant I couldn’t travel.

“I had already quit my job working in a bar here so I found myself unemployed and struggling to get a new job because of the impact of COVID.”

Liam then heard about the government backed Kickstarter campaign being run by United Utilities. He added: “I learnt about the programme through the Job Centre and it seemed like a really good opportunity. I received some training for the interview which was really helpful and I had a video call with other people on the scheme who were really nice so I thought I would go for it.”

Liam is now working as an office administrator at United Utilities’ head office in Lingley Mere. His role focusses on updating the firms Integrated Network Solutions (INS) systems. Liam added: “My job is to make processes smoother and troubleshoot any issues. We have a team of agents who take calls and log issues and there are lots of different categories, but sometimes they get placed in the wrong category. My job is to filter through them and make sure they’re in the right place to make the process more efficient.”

Since starting the programme in April, Liam has had the opportunity to develop his life skills. He said: “I’ve never worked in an office environment before so I didn’t know what to expect. I’m used to being on my feet all day so I thought the days would drag but they go even faster than any other job I’ve had before which is a sign that I’m enjoying it!

“One thing that attracted me to the job was that I would be working in the office. Like most people I’m fed up of the pandemic so I’m really glad to be around people here and experiencing a slice of normality.

“Everyone here is so friendly and supportive and I’ve had my line manager and work coach giving me lots of help and guidance, the office environment I’m working in is really nice and I’ve had the opportunity to take part in wider training such as health & safety, which has really helped to build my skills.”

Liam is already looking forward to what the future holds in six months’ time when the scheme is over. He concluded: “Since starting here, I’ve realised just how many opportunities there are at United Utilities. I didn’t realise how big the company is and the number of jobs available. I’ve found out more about the graduate jobs on offer here so I considering applying for one of those when I’ve completed this programme.”

United Utilities is currently recruiting for more applicants for its Kickstart scheme, it is open to Universal Credit claimants aged 16 to 24. For more information, please email uu.team@rullion.co.uk.