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Megan’s Kickstart Success!

After six months of training and working within the Xalient HR team as part of the government’s Kickstart Scheme, we’re thrilled to welcome Megan Underwood, in to a permanent role in the Xalient team.

Before starting at Xalient, Megan had some extended time off after her maternity leave and was considering returning to work but looking to start a new career journey. Liking the idea of working and supporting people, HR seemed like a natural fit, and she was keen to start work within an office environment to gain a good understanding of “office life”. We caught up with Megan to find out about her Kickstart experience.

What made you apply for the Kickstarter Scheme that led to your role here at Xalient?

I was at home with my little one during the pandemic, and in truth, it was difficult. I think I lost part of my identity and it made me realise that I wanted to opt for a career change when the time was right to return to work. I’ve always had a passion for working with people, so a role in HR seemed like a good path to follow. When I heard about the Kickstarter Scheme, I felt it would enable me to get the work experience I needed, and, as it turns out, it has been the gateway to a new and exciting future for me here at Xalient!

Can you talk us through what your experience has been like working for Xalient so far?

I’ve been here for over six months now and it’s flown by! I’m really enjoying the role and I feel like I’ve learnt so much in such a short space of time. I cannot stress how many invaluable skills I’ve learnt that I not only implement my career, but in my daily life too.

Lucy Brewer, Xalient’s HR Manager, along with the wider HR team, offered me guidance and support throughout my placement and I had regular 1:1s to discuss any concerns or queries and reflect on what’s worked well and areas to improve. I can honestly say through my experience working at Xalient, I have become ‘Megan’ again. My confidence has grown so much, and I feel excited to see where my future career will go.

What have you enjoyed the most out of your experience?

The people! Everyone at Xalient made me feel so welcome and made the whole experience around me even better.

What has been the biggest skill you’ve learned in this role?

That’s a tough one as I’ve learnt so much! But I’d probably say conflict management – the importance of listening to others and helping to resolve issues in a respectfully, and appropriate way.

What has been your biggest learning curve starting in the HR?

Getting to grips with the structure of the organisation, how all the departments work together and the specifics of every person’s different role.

What advice would you give for anyone considering a Kickstarter role?

To anyone considering applying, I’d certainly encourage them to do so as it’s probably one of the best opportunities you’re going to get to start out your career. For those just starting a Kickstart apprenticeship –  make sure you use every opportunity to learn as much as you can, take advantage of all the support on offer and enjoy the experience – you never know where it might lead!

The Kickstart Scheme, which was rolled out in September last year, is a government-led program that aims “to kickstart the careers of thousands of young people who could otherwise be left behind as a result of the pandemic”. The focus of the scheme is providing 6-month placements to out-of-work young people.

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Portrait of Mark Foulsham, Board Advisor, NED, COO/CIO, Fractional Support, Digital Leadership Coach

Mark Foulsham

Board Advisor, NED, COO/CIO, Fractional Support, Digital Leadership Coach

With a broad background as a COO/CIO/CDO, C-Suite Advisor, NED, Senior Transformation Leader and Coach, Mark tackles multiple fronts from the advantage of diverse experience in business operations, technology, procurement, delivery and risk. With a deep knowledge of business models from multiple sectors and extensive experience in fast-paced digital start-ups.

Mark’s work across extensive business types, functions and countries empowers him with experience to bear across silos. Mark has built a reputation for advocating cross-business collaboration, taking a pragmatic approach and championing transformative change.