Written by Ryan Smith

Name: Ryan Smith 

Age: 23

Occupation: Marketing, Videography and Journalism at The Future Melting Pot 

Hobbies and Interests: Football, wheelchair basketball, politics, news and current affairs, Star Wars

University: Single Honours Journalism, University of Worcester, Upper Second Class (2:1)

My journey:

In May 2019, I completed my degree studying journalism at the University of Worcester. I finished with a 2:1 and won an internal award for being the best broadcast journalist at the university. Alongside my degree, I volunteered for a year at Bullivant Media, the leading news supplier for Bromsgrove, Redditch, Droitwich and Worcester. This was due to my lecturer telling me that graduates never get a job in our industry without doing foundational experience first.  However, despite my best efforts, I was rejected for several jobs, with one company giving me the feedback that “you have experience but no paid experience.” 

In October 2019, I started work for Shaftec Automotive, a warehouse that sold refurbished car parts. It was a valuable experience for me as it allowed me to see just how hard people are willing to work to provide for their families. However, it also showed me that warehouse work was not what I wanted to be doing for the rest of my life. I began preliminary pre-production on a documentary detailing the Canadian Wheelchair Basketball team’s journey to three Paralympic gold medals, with the intention being that I would leave Shaftec at the end of 2020 and produce this documentary. However, in March 2020, coronavirus put a hold to all of my plans. 

By the end of the first lockdown, I had left Shaftec and began discussions with Wheelchair Basketball Canada on producing the documentary. Three days before Christmas last year, we had to cancel all plans due to the second coronavirus lockdown, and now I had precious little left in savings. I applied for jobs, but I was determined not to go back into warehouse work despite my financial situation.

How kickstart has helped me:

Firstly, for the first time since university, I have been able to do a job that I enjoy. Not only that, but I have been able to progress my skills beyond journalism, having been involved in the videography and online marketing departments at various stages. This broader range of skills will help me in my future career.

Furthermore, I believe that I have been able to develop leadership capabilities. In previous working environments, I have been the youngest and least experienced member of staff, so I have been reluctant to step forward and problem solve. However, as everyone is in a similar situation at TFMP, I have felt much more confident taking charge of some situations and offering solutions to specific problems. 

Thirdly, it has been nice to interact with people my own age, as in wheelchair basketball, where the 

team’s average age is over 30, so being able to work with people within my age range has been nice.

Finally, working with TFMP has given me a range of fantastic opportunities that I can put on my CV, including garnering praise from Steve McCabe MP after a discussion with him and interviewing several high profile dignitaries at the Birmingham Jobs Fair at Villa Park.

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