Kicking off Career Kickstart Reviews

Keith Hatch, unionlearn Projects Communications Officer recently met up with Louisa Smith who is Projects Officer at unionlearn. Louisa is leading on the Career Kickstart Reviews and he asked her some questions about what they are and how they can be used to help young people in the workplace.

Career Kickstart

So firstly, what is a Career Kickstart Review?

A Career Kickstart Review is an opportunity of a young person to sit down with a reviewer (often a ULR) to think about and discuss where they are now, what their next steps could be and their career aspirations. It is chance for them to identify skills, think about career pathways, build confidence and consider opportunities for personal development and progression.”

What is included in the new Career Kickstart Review guide?

The guide looks at background behind the project, the importance of good Information Advice and Guidance (IAG), the model for the reviews (with the ULR at the centre) and also includes five exciting activities people can try out in their workplaces. The booklet explains how to carry out a review and there is a pre and post review questionnaire and an action plan template.  There is also topics to consider, top tips and a range of useful links and resources that people can make use of.”

Why is unionlearn carrying out this work?

We thought it would be beneficial to do something dedicated to supporting young people in the workplace. This year is the TUC Year or the Young Worker so was a prime opportunity for us to brainstorm and release some new resources. Careers advice and support is pretty much a postcode lottery and although available in schools, at colleges and at universities, once a young person is in the workplace there is often little careers advice available to them. With automation and an uncertainty around careers for the future, it is important for everyone to take stock of where they are now and where they want to be, and the Career Kickstart Review is a chance to do that.”

Why do you think the reviews are useful for young people?

The reviews are a good conversation starter and a starting point to help advise a young person on their next steps and future goals. They can be a way to introduce a young person to what is available via union learning and therefore if they are non member they may be interested in becoming a union member. They can be a mechanism for identifying people’s skills and exploring career pathways something which is useful for anyone. The reviews can also help identify training needs and learning opportunities which others in the organisation may wish to take up too.”

There were some workshops on the Career Kickstart Review weren’t there? 

Yes, we ran two workshops in September this year, one in Manchester and another in London.  Steve Murphy who wrote the guide with unionlearn ran the session along with a colleague of his Pete Broadhurst from an organisation called Positive Steps which is a charitable trust that delivers a range of targeted and integrated services for young people, adults and families. They were really useful workshops with a range of fun activities included which I think will really appeal to young people.”

Are there plans for anymore workshops?

I hope so yes, no fixed dates yet but we will hopefully run some more in 2020.  We are really keen for ULRs to make use of the new booklet and let us know if there is more we can do to help.

You can access the Career Kickstart Review Guide online ( or you can request a hard copy. 

For further information visit the unionlearn website or contact Louisa Smith at [email protected]

Profile picture for user Louisa Smith

Louisa Smith

Louisa Smith is a Projects Officer at unionlearn. She has worked for the TUC for over 15 years in TUC Learning Services and unionlearn.

Louisa is currently part of the Service Team, leading on Supporting Learners, Higher Learning, Supporting Younger Workers and also manages the union learning Climbing Frame website.