Ready For Employment Success with KickStart for Rebekah with Pest Solutions

Tue 12th October 2021

Before Rebekah started the Ready For Employment course at Ibrox, she had been unemployed for over six months and found her mental health to be deteriorating. She was applying for job after job with no success.

Everything changed when she took up her work coach’s offer and signed up for the six week ‘Ready For Employment’ course. Her work coach explained that she would benefit from such things as gaining her emergency first aid at work certificate, mental health first aid certificate, SQA award, CV building workshops and the opportunity to meet with multiple potential employers. This was an opportunity not to be missed!

“I feel like this course helped me get back out there, see the value in myself and be able to put it on paper. It helped me actually think about what I wanted from a job and where I could see myself in the future. It helped me see how many opportunities are out there if you know the right places to look.”

Rebekah credits the course with boosting her motivation in many ways, helping her understand how many skills she already had just in everyday life.

“A motivational speaker came in for a chat and it was amazing. He talked sense, came from a similar position we were in and the way he managed to change his life around was inspiring. My confidence levels were extremely low before attending this course but they are now sky high. This course taught me how to present myself and how to prepare for every situation.”

Rebekah knew she wanted a job that could help her better herself by gaining experience and qualifications. She got a job at Pest Solutions as a trainee technician after talking to Chris, one of the guest speakers and now her boss. Chris explained what this job could include day to day and the opportunities available. 

“I applied for this job straight away. If it wasn't for this course, I don't think I would have found such an amazing opportunity.”

As a trainee technician, Rebekah provides pest control for both domestic clients and businesses and is enjoying the variety of work. 

“I am loving every minute of this job, no two days are the same. The amount of training and support I received from all the staff is amazing. I recently passed an exam meaning I am able to go to certain jobs myself and it has been great!

“My life has changed completely since I have gained employment. I have a reason to get out of bed every day and it is to do something that's enjoyable! It has given me a reason to care about myself and the future and what is best for me.”

Asked what advice she would give other candidates, Rebekah said:

“Take every opportunity that is offered. There are amazing people out there willing to give you the bit of extra help you may need. Talk to everyone and ask questions because if you don't ask you don't know!”

An Employer’s Perspective

Chris Cagienard is the Director and Field Biologist at Pest Solutions who came to talk to the Ready for Employment group after being made aware of the KickStart scheme and the work the Foundation does in preparing and developing young people for the workplace. After speaking to Senior Community Executive, Jamie Duncanson, he agreed to come and speak to a group of young job seekers to explain more about what a career in the Pest Control Industry is like and discuss opportunities at Pest Solutions. As someone who got his start in the industry at a young age and worked his way up, his story struck a chord with Rebekah.

Pest Solutions are a Glasgow-based business providing pest control services throughout Scotland. The business is expanding rapidly, which is creating a lot of employment opportunities. In addition to starting a Graduate Scheme as well as recruiting experience from within the industry, Chris wanted to make sure there was a route for young people coming into the business and training them from the ground up:

“After all, I got my start in the pest control industry via the Job Centre as a 17 year old. 24 years later, I am keen to make sure we do not miss out as a business on giving young people a similar opportunity to show what they can bring to the industry. This is why we chose to take part in the KickStart Scheme and found our way to the Rangers Foundation.”

After speaking to a group of young job seekers undertaking the Ready for Employment course, Chris received an application from Rebekah. She performed well in her interview and demonstrated that she had the potential to do well in the pest control industry with the right support so was offered the job. Chris told us that participating in the Kickstart Scheme has given his company the chance to give a young person who may have missed out on the opportunity as part of their traditional recruitment strategy which was something they wanted to get involved in as a business.”

Chris admits that employing young people who have been out of the workplace for a time does come with its challenges:

“We live in a world that makes young people a lot of unrealistic promises but does not always follow through to support them in making their first steps in a career. For this reason I can understand that it can be really hard not to become disillusioned and lose focus. This can lead to looking for any job rather than a career. But, there is a lot to be said from choosing a path, starting at the bottom and working your way up. This is only possible with the right attitude. We think we have found the right attitude with Rebekah.”

The pest control industry is mostly made up of men over the age of 40, which Chris feels is a shame. Only 41 himself but with 24 years experience, he is still considered young in the industry. His journey from having worked from the bottom as a trainee technician to being a leader in the industry, owning his own business, employing a growing number of people and serving as Vice President of the British Pest Control Association makes him all the more passionate about what young people can bring:

“Young people interested in getting into the pest control industry are its future. There is work to do and lots to learn. But for a young person with the right attitude there is a wealth of opportunity."

Rebekah is one of a growing number of young people and also females in the company. She is settling in well, making great progress in her training and is working towards achieving her RSPH Level 2 Award in Pest Management - the professional qualification that all BPCA registered pest control technicians must achieve. 

In addition, she is fitting in well with the rest of her team and making an impact with customers which resulted in her finishing third in our monthly customer feedback incentive with 8 5 star reviews on Google from customers in the month of August. Chris added:

“We expect that Rebekah will remain a part of the team at the end of her Kickstart placement and establish her self at Pest Solutions and in the industry.”

Asked what Chris would say to other employers who could potentially offer young people opportunities, Chris said:

“It can be incredibly frustrating to see young people give up on themselves. But, who can blame them if employers don’t make the effort to create the right opportunities? It is a fact that we are in an employers’ market right now with many people looking for work and it is definitely easier to hire experienced people who have been pre-conditioned for the workplace.

However, I believe getting young people on a career path early with development opportunities is the way to return to sustainable careers rather than transient jobs. For me this makes good business sense.”

The next Ready for Employment course starts 1st November 2021. If you are 18-24 and need help with job searching, contact your work coach for information. 

If you are an employer interested in partnering with the Rangers Charity Foundation on employability courses, please email rangerscharity@rangers.co.uk 

Tags: Ready For Employment / ibrox community hub / employability