22 April 2021

Meet our two new Kickstart recruits: Melina and Alaya

The government’s Kickstart Scheme was launched to create a number of new 6-month job placements for young people who are currently on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment. The job placements are aimed at supporting the participants to develop the skills and experience they need to find permanent work after completing the scheme. Future First is proud to have recruited and given access to the workplace for two young people: Melina and Alaya. Hear what they have to say about their new roles and how they got here.

Alaya Seoudy, Alumni Engagement Assistant

I am grateful to Future First for this opportunity and I can’t wait to delve in!

I graduated in summer 2020 from King’s College London with a BA in History. Well, I say I graduated – I received my diploma like everyone else – in the mail! I think the graduation ceremony is definitely a rite of passage. But will it happen? Who knows!

After a testing time of post-graduate depression, I received an email from Future First about a job opening via the Kickstart scheme – my old school is a Future First member school and I am signed up to my alumni network to hear about opportunities. I am someone who has relied on social mobility charities during my time at university and most of my voluntary experience has centred on social justice within education, outreach, mentoring and teaching. So these factors combined and naturally led me to be interested in Future First’s mission and work. It was a no-brainer – and I applied straight away!

During my time at Future First, I hope to gain a wealth of skills, knowledge and connections. I want to find out what tasks I really enjoy doing, what I excel in and what I could improve on. And be able to add valuable input along the way. 

In the future, I am interested in securing a role within education policy (as I think there is a lot to be reformed) or business management, particularly within the Third Sector or even technology. This role is a great stepping stone for my future.

As the Alumni Engagement Assistant, Alaya will work within our Delivery team to help build thriving and engaged alumni communities for the schools we support. She will help kick-start our approach to network-building by reaching out to former students to invite them to join the network and support their old school, giving us greater reach and impact. 

Melina Joannides, Digital Assistant

I’m Melina, born and raised in North London. Having always been creative, I love to sketch and attempt to make the next best looks by tearing up and drawing on clothes. 

I studied at Ashmole Academy – a Future First member school – throughout my GCSEs and A-Levels. I enjoyed Art at GCSE, however, I was unable to attain the required grades necessary to study Art at A-Level. I then went on to study International Media and Communications at the University of Nottingham.

University provided me with the time and space to reflect, which led me to being creative again. I had often struggled with communicating and voicing my thoughts and feelings, so I began creating abstract work of the female body intertwined with symbols of nature as my subconscious form of expression and communication. Over time, I gained the courage to showcase my work through Instagram, which led me to creating my business, MJ Expression, selling merchandise such as clothing, tote bags, art prints, stickers and more. 

For one reason or another, people in your life try to put you on the path they believe is best for you. However, I believe that the world is your oyster and if you put your mind, effort and time into your dream, you can achieve it. 

I chose to apply to Future First because its sole intention is to guide young people to recognise their potential and the various opportunities that are out there. Future First aims to fill young people with confidence, self-believe, and provide them with a voice and direction for life. The organisation understands not every young person has the luxury of having a role model in their immediate circle – it wants to provide young people with the ability to recognise someone’s success and think, I can do this too, I too can succeed. This resonated with me. It would be so beautiful to truly have a positive impact on a young person’s life and be able to say, I was a part of that.

As the Digital Assistant, Melina will work closely with our Public Relations Officer and Business Services Director to curate a range of content that successfully showcases the work we do. Every day we engage with alumni volunteers, employers and young people across the country, and the Digital Assistant will help bring their voices and experiences to life through social media and other digital channels.