Lewis’ Kickstart Story: From Universal Credit to Permanent Contract

Meet Lewis. He’s so much more than a block caretaker for Stockport Homes – he’s driven, punctual and a valuable team member to name a few. But, realising all of this took Lewis on a journey around the houses and through the job centre – this is his story from Universal Credit to permanent contract. 

“I had a very bad upbringing. In school my behaviour struggled, and I left without any qualifications. My first job was helping a friend with labouring for 10 hours per week and earning £72 but unfortunately, I was made redundant. My only previous experience with universal credit was when my sister claimed for me when I was younger, so it was tough. I tried to secure work, but I got nowhere.”  
Lewis was introduced to Jamie, employment team leader for Stockport Homes, at a local jobs fair and it’s here where he first heard about the Kickstart Scheme. Jamie notes all the early signs of Lewis’ commitment and positive attitude were there: “I knew that I could recommend Lewis to the Managers at Stockport homes, he had a lot of potential to grow.” 

After working on his CV and transferable skills from earlier jobs, Lewis felt confident going into the interview and secured a placement with Stockport Homes’ environmental team as a caretaker.   

“I loved everything about it; a job that I really enjoyed, regular support from Jamie and I wasn’t sat around all day without any money. The placement has provided me with new life opportunities, and I just wanted to carry on impressing my managers and colleagues.” 
There really is no substitute for hard work - Lewis is the prime example. Expecting to walk back through the job centre doors once his 6-month placement ended, his work ethic and newfound skills were enough to persuade Stockport Homes to offer him a full-time job…  

“When I found out I had a full contract here, I was buzzing – so happy with myself. I thought I’d be jobless once the placement ended, but now I can say I have a full-time job with Stockport Homes!  

I feel like I can speak to my colleagues about anything. I see them as family. This has helped me become better with approaching people and speaking to them with confidence. When I have people pushing me and telling me I can do something, I do it. I didn’t even have a provisional driving license before, and now I’m going to do my theory.” 

Lewis is relishing each day, and plans are already afoot to progress his career down the line. 
“When I was younger, I had nothing. So now I have regular money, I just want to make sure I’ve got everything. A lot of my colleagues are team leaders who used to be caretakers, so it just shows you where you can get to. I recently had feedback from two residents who said their block is so much cleaner since I started. For them both to come down from their home and tell me that, I must be doing something right. Every single day I’ll go in and make sure that I do absolutely everything, so it’s spotless for the residents. 
I love working for Stockport Homes. When you’re working in the block, every day is different and that is really satisfying… I’m a tenant too, so it feels like a full circle.”