William gets his career back on track after losing job during pandemic

Like many young people in the UK, William Moore was hit hard during the COVID-19 pandemic and lost his job at a welfare hotline. Since then, William applied to be part of the Government’s Kickstart scheme and has secured a job in United Utilities’ scheduling and operation team with a bright career ahead of him.

During Learning at Work Week (17-23 May), we speak to William about how learning has helped him carve a career during these challenging times.

William, 24, from Great Sankey in Warrington graduated from Liverpool Hope University in 2019 with the initial hope of becoming a primary school teacher, but after realising it wasn’t the right path for him, he followed a different route.

William said: “Before the pandemic hit, I was working for a welfare hotline, providing support for people over the phone. The end of my probation period coincided with the height of COVID and the company had to make staff cuts so unfortunately my contract wasn’t renewed.”

After being out of work for a few months, William got a temporary contract for the Royal Mail over Christmas which is when he saw the opportunity to join the Kickstart scheme.

He added: “The Kickstart information popped up on my Universal Credit online journal, I was really familiar with United Utilities as the head office is local to where I live and it seemed like such a good opportunity. I contacted my work coach for more details, and they put me in touch with a third-party company who coached me for the interview which really helped. I think it was down to their training that I was successful for the job.

“The scheme was a chance for me to get my career back on track. It’s also helped me gain life skills as I’ve been given access to e-books and online courses such as public speaking and conflict management which has helped me improve as an individual.”

William secured a job on the scheduling and operation team and his day-to-day role involves scheduling third-party engineers for preventative and pro-active on-site maintenance.

William said: “The role is so interesting; it is very fast-paced which makes it really exciting. The team I work with is very experienced and they have been so helpful while I’ve been learning the ropes.

“Everyone has been so friendly and approachable here from my team leader Ellie to my kickstart skills coach Deb – it’s a great company to be part of.”

“When I was studying for my history degree, I never thought I would be doing this job, but I’ve really surprised myself with the transferable skills I have that I’ve been able to use during this job.”

It has been a strange time for William to start a new career, he added: “It’s very weird starting a new job during a pandemic, but I’ve been very lucky to have some in-person training and I’ve still managed to meet quite a few people in my team. My colleagues Lucy, Emma and Joan have been particularly accommodating and have really helped me to learn.”

William has many ambitions he’d like to achieve on the scheme. He concluded: “The programme is six months long but I have been told that if I do well, it will lead to more opportunities for me. In the short term I want to use my skills to support the scheduling team as they have welcomed me with open arms and have given me so much support. My longer-term goal is to further my career with United Utilities. There is such a vast range of job roles here – everything from lab technicians to social media teams. I’ve seen first-hand the huge scope of roles that the company offers, there really are opportunities on tap.”

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.