Earlier this year, 21-year-old Waaji Khan was left unemployed after being made redundant from his previous job. But now, thanks to the Kickstart scheme, he will soon become a permanent member of the National Pharmacy Association’s (NPA) Member Services team.
Through the St Albans Jobcentre, Waaji was advised in the Spring of 2021 of the government’s Kickstart Scheme. There were several vacancies for him to consider which included social media marketing opportunities.
Previously Waaji had done a apprenticeship with Pret A Manger which ended due to a tough business climate and then he worked in the mobile phone industry for two years, before being made redundant during the Covid-19 lockdown.
At the Jobcentre he selected the administration vacancy at NPA’s head office in St Albans, as he was intrigued by the community pharmacy sector, which was completely new to him. After the job centre processed his application, Waaji was interviewed by the NPA and approved for the sixth month placement.
Waaji quickly became a valuable team player in the Member Services team. He has a varied role, which he finds enjoyable and it has given him lots of opportunity to acquire new knowledge. As well as day-to-day administration with regards to the services that the NPA offers its members, which includes data entry onto the NPA’s CRM system, Waaji has also handled calls on the member support telephone lines.
Waaji said: “I really enjoy the variety of my role and working in this team. Right from the start, I have treated this opportunity like a proper job – rather than a six-month placement – so have been happy to get involved in whatever I can.”
When asked what advice he would offer to young people who do not know much about the Kickstart Scheme, Waaji said: “I would encourage them to take up any opportunity, as no matter what role you go for as a placement, you will pick up lots of transferable skills. Although I didn’t really need the Employability training from Reed that offers help with CVs and interviews – it is very good nonetheless and will definitely help you if you don’t remain with the employer after the placement.”
Sandra Power, Member Services Team Manager at NPA said: “Waaji is a real asset. He has slotted into the team very quickly, he works hard and is keen to learn. We’re pleased to say we will be keeping him on permanently after the six month placement when his role will become Member Services Advisor.”
The NPA partnered with Reed in November 2020 when the Kickstart Scheme was launched. Since then over 400 community pharmacies have benefited from having a Kickstarter placement during an extremely difficult and busy period for the sector.
Louise Baglole, Head of Learning and Development at the NPA, said: “We launched this programme to offer our members support with Government funded resource and it has proved to be very popular. It seemed a natural progression to see if we could offer a young person a work placement opportunity within our own head office, which is why Waaji joined us. It is another success story of this scheme and we look forward to welcoming Waaji as a permanent employee.’
To read employer and Kickstarter testimonials on the Kickstart Scheme, visit: www.npa.co.uk/kickstart-scheme/kickstarter-and-employer-testimonials/