As demonstrated by many young people across the country, the pandemic proved a difficult period for local Wiganer, Billy Whittle. Born in Wigan, the 22-year-old spent 16 months unemployed before being offered a way back into work by Wigan Athletic Community Trust through the government’s Kickstart scheme.
Billy struggled with seeking opportunities to start his career within the workplace after finding himself on an endless job search, However, Billy’s persistence and perseverance paid off, after he found himself the dream job at his local football club, working as a Project Officer at Wigan Athletic Community Trust
The Kickstart programme is an initiative to help young people by giving them opportunities to get a foothold within the professional work environment. Nearly 1,300 young people have been provided Kickstart placements at 65 EFL clubs across the country.
Upon discovering the opportunity, Billy reflected upon his experience of initially finding the role:
“Lockdown for me was particularly difficult. Although I enjoyed the peace and quiet at times, the boredom that came as a result of a groundhog routine really affected me mentally.
“Having been unemployed for around 16 months, I applied for the role when my work coach at the job centre referred me.
“I felt I could learn key skills and develop myself to grow professionally, and I have always respected the club’s position and importance within the town I was born and raised in.”
As part of his role as Project Officer, Billy supports staff from across the organisation in planning upcoming events and ensuring operations run smoothly. Now after over four months into the role, he explains how he’s developed in the job so far:
“Since being taken on by the Community Trust I’ve gained a number of skills including organisation, leadership and time management”, he said.
“I’ve also learnt a key understanding of how a charity, especially a sports and wellbeing charity, functions and operates on a day-to-day basis.
“Every day is different and exciting, and I wake up intrigued with what each day might bring and now when I look at the badge, it’s a great feeling to think that I work for Wigan Athletic.”
“So far I couldn’t have wished for a more welcoming and friendly group of people. Starting a new job is always daunting however everyone at the Trust has made me feel like part of a team.
“I’ve made a lot of new friends who have made the four months feel like four years.”
With employment secured, Billy is now embracing his opportunity to utilise his expertise at Wigan Athletic Community Trust and now Billy has the chance to really kickstart his career.
Click here to find out more about how Kickstart is impacting young people’s lives.