Kickstart participants come together to improve diversity in the charity sector

Last week, young people on the Kickstart scheme took part in a charity-focused Dragon’s Den challenge to build upon and showcase the employability skills they’ve developed during their placements.


The challenge, posed by Minister for Employment, Mims Davies, was to improve diversity within the charity sector, with a particular focus on recruitment and retention.


Discussions ranged from how to produce targeted recruitment campaigns to provision of benefits that would increase retention of employees from diverse backgrounds; after all four presentations, ‘The Renewal Foundation’ were crowned the winners for their collaborative and inclusive approach.


Participants are currently completing Kickstart placements across the charity sector, and it was fantastic to see so many of their colleagues from Vision Foundation, Future First, London Youth Rowing, and Prospectus in attendance to support the young people taking part.


The Kickstart scheme forms part of the Government’s ‘Plan for Jobs’, offering six-month jobs for young people aged 16 to 24 who are claiming Universal Credit and are at risk of long-term unemployment.


We spoke to some of the Kickstarters who shared their experiences of the scheme, reflecting on the impact:


I think it’s a brilliant scheme, as someone coming from being in the job centre for more than a year and not finding any work I think it’s been a great opportunity for me […] and I think every young person should jump on it as well
I feel like a lot of young people don’t really know where they want to go and with the Kickstart scheme it gives us a sense of hope. Working around other people, seeing what they’ve achieved, it means that we’re able to develop our skills and see ourselves much higher up on the ladder.
It’s very beneficial, it’s impacted me massively – I’ve got a job out of it, I’ve got experience out of it, I’ve learnt many skills and it’s given me a voice at such a big company and an opportunity that I wouldn’t have otherwise.

What one word would Kickstarters use to describe the scheme? Find out in Prospectus' short video, below:

Thanks to everyone involved, especially our Dragons: Lynne Peabody (Acting CEO, EY Foundation; Kiran Bhangal (Associate Director, Advertising, Prospectus); Christina Watson (Assistant Director of Design, UK Youth); and Dame Mary Marsh (Commissioner, Financial Inclusion Commission). Thanks also to everyone at Prospectus for your support and, of course, the young people for sharing their ideas. 

I think we can't underestimate the power of events like this on young people's development. For many this will have been the first time they have worked in a team of people they've just met, to collaborate and present together. I was so inspired by the passion, disruptive spirit and authenticity I saw in the young Kickstarters - they each contributed to the task, learning to play to their own strengths and lifted each other up in the most supportive ways. I left with a beautiful reminder that there is so much we can learn from this young talent - if only we give them the platform and really listen.

Being a 'Dragon' at the Kickstart event last week was a great experience, and also a lot of fun. There were some truly inspiring ideas and insight from the young people involved who shared their perspectives and insights from both lived experience and what they have learnt about the sector so far. I’m really looking forward to seeing how they progress in the following months.

If you are an employer in the charity sector and want to find out how you can get involved in the Kickstart scheme, please email: