Material girls get kickstart to creative careers

Some of the Kickstart placements Zoe Smith, Lisa Hendry, Alana Brown, Jynx Gotch and Britney Burnett

A GROUP of five young people are quite literally designing their futures, embarking on a creative challenge to secure work experience and employment.

The group from Kickstart have secured placements with local charity Front Lounge which runs the Kindred Clothing Award (Garment Production), delivered by a diverse range of businesses within its Clothes Making Learning Partnership (CMLP).

Kindred Clothing takes learners through the key stages of the garment production process from setting up and using a sewing machine through to mood boards, pattern making and construction.  Learners also gain practical fashion photography skills and techniques to present themselves, their stories and clothes.

The Government-funded, six-month Kickstart placements will be divided into two parts – three months working towards the qualification within Front Lounge’s Hilltown base, and three-month placements with local clothes-making / fashion businesses. 

The new Kickstart placements are Britney Burnett (21), Lisa Hendry (21), Jynx Gotch (18), Saffron Hine (23) and Zoe Smith (24). After completing the qualification, the group will enjoy placements with a range of local businesses including ISOLATED HEROES, Jo-AMI, Andie, KerrieALDO and Betty & Moira.

Today, one of Kindred Clothing’s first group of Kickstart placements highlighted the amazing opportunities she gained. Hannah Watson has secured two part-time jobs since completing her placement, with Dundee businesses ISOLATED HEROES and Andie.

Hannah (22), mum to four-year-old Grace, said: “Kindred Clothing has given me some incredible opportunities – not just to grow and develop as a person but to give me the push to realise who I want to be.  Before, I settled for what was in front of me but, by pushing me out of my comfort zone, Kindred Clothing has helped me see a brighter future and provided a great support system in the process which has been so important, especially over the last two years. I wouldn’t have made the connections I’ve made or secured such brilliant employment – I’m so thankful for the project and for Front Lounge.”

Samantha Paton, who launched ISOLATED HEROES 10 years ago added: “I have loved watching Hannah’s confidence grow throughout her time at Isolated Heroes on the Kickstart programme. The Government funding and support through Kickstart has allowed us to grow our team and explore new areas developing new products with less overall business risk. Hannah has become an invaluable member of our team and her involvement in the development of our new accessories range has contributed to a 15% rise in product sales. We are delighted to be in a position to offer Hannah a part-time job where we can continue to elevate her design and manufacturing skills. It’s an exciting time at ISOLATED HEROES and the Scottish fashion industry and we couldn’t imagine moving forward without Hannah’s infectious personality and fantastic work ethic.”

Following in her example, Britney Burnett added: “Having enjoyed a taster session making tote bags through Kindred Clothing, I was really keen to apply for the Kickstart placement. I wasn’t really into sewing before but now I’m loving it. Just two weeks in and I’d already made a lounge top and I’m now making the bottoms, with dungarees and leggings to come! It’s also my first job in two years. To me, this is an amazing opportunity but also within a really supportive environment. I struggle with mental health issues and anxiety and it’s been a brilliant way of putting my mind at ease and giving me something positive to focus on. The sense of achievement when you make something is just amazing. If I can achieve this, I can achieve so much more!”

Chika Inatimi, Project Leader of Front Lounge said: “Kindred Clothing was always about more than learning how to sew.  We want to show our learners, some of whom might otherwise be left behind, that by applying their talents, their interests, with time and commitment they can do anything they set their minds to! The Kickstart employment will provide this group with genuine opportunities to develop themselves and their skills. It will lead to an SQA certified qualification, gaining real-life knowledge and insight from industry professionals. Many of the businesses they will work with launched their enterprises at a young age, often from their spare room, and have gone on to achieve great things through hard work and dedication, qualities our group will gain so much from. We can’t wait to follow their progress and see where they go from here.”

Through Kickstart, which is open to youngsters aged 16-24 who are claiming Universal Credit, the Government pays the age-relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week.  The scheme aims to provide young people with skills for the future, improving their chances of finding long-term work.

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