Sam Storey knows what it’s like to be without a job and on Universal Credit. It’s one of the reasons he’s so passionate about being part of a new Karbon-backed programme to give people over the age of 25 a chance of work.
Hi Sam, tell us a bit about yourself.
I run Belle & Herbs Farm with my business partner Pan. We are based at Rising Sun Community Farm on the fringe of Wallsend, Newcastle, making award-winning and delicious fermented foods such as kimchi, pickles and hot sauces. These raw, live and unpasteurised foods are great for your gut and your physical and mental well-being. They’ve long been popular in Asia and now the UK is catching on to their taste and health benefits.
And now you’re giving five Karbon customers the chance to get involved in the business?
That’s right. We are selling our stuff as fast as we can make it! We want to grow the business so we can produce more but we want to do it in an ethical way. By signing up to the New Start programme, we’re able to give paid work placements to people over 25 who are looking for either their first job or a chance to change direction. It’s a win-win situation. They gain some great work experience and skills and we get some great help.
What will the new recruits be doing?
All sorts! We’ve created five brand new roles for our New Start team, from a horticulturist, to a fermenting cook, to a driver and an admin/online sales executive. Our fermenting cook is actually the first in the whole of the North of England! The New Start programme allows us to create new posts and gives us five months to make them work. There’s no reason why they can’t stay with us if all goes well. That’s what we’re aiming for.
Why did you choose to recruit this way?
We both lost our previous jobs in the restaurant industry during the pandemic so we understand what it feels like to be without work and to have to start over. Having a job is more than just about earning money, it gives you a sense of belonging, a feeling of purpose. So, when we set up Belle & Herbs, we decided to prioritise people whose employment has been affected by the pandemic.
New Start in a nutshell
- It’s a paid placement programme, providing career starter roles for people aged 25 and over
- Offers five-month opportunities of up to 30 hours per week, with no prior experience requirements
- Pays real wages and offers qualifications
- It’s a partnership between housing providers in the North of Tyne region, with roles open to residents living in their households
- Recruitment events were organised by New Start partner Your Homes Newcastle and Karbon Homes. We brought together 30 employers with 160 customers, and provided 66 roles to Karbon customers
- This project is funded by the UK Government through the UK Community Renewal Fund with the North of Tyne Combined Authority as the lead authority
- Recruitment is now closed but keep an eye on our website for new opportunities www.karbonhomes.co.uk/careers
Luke, a Karbon customer from Morpeth, is one of the five new starters at Belle & Herbs Farm
New role: Fermenter
My family and I moved from Scarborough up to Northumberland last year with our two children. However, finding work proved difficult. I applied for a lot of jobs but didn’t receive any replies. I eventually managed to find work as a cashier in Poundland, but the role didn’t have career prospects.
My new opportunity:
I found out about the New Start opportunity through an email my partner and I received from Karbon Homes. I was instantly drawn to the jobs at Belle & Herbs. The process of applying through New Start went well and I found out that I had the job a day after the interview. The Recruitment Team were really accommodating and understanding, helping me to start my new role whilst giving me the time to work my notice period at my previous job.
I’m really pleased with the job at Belle & Herbs Farm. I enjoy all of it. The owners are great, I get to be out around nature and working with animals, and I get a decent number of contracted hours which gives me much more stability. Overall, I’m grateful for the opportunity and to be given a chance. It’s a much better job all around with much better prospects and hopefully the chance for a permanent role after my placement.
“The great thing about the New Start programme is that it’s designed to give exciting new opportunities to residents over the age of 25. Similar programmes tend to support younger audiences, meaning the older you are the harder it can be to get past the first hurdles of starting a new role. Whether it’s a first job or a chance to change direction, New Start can help applicants make those important first steps.”
Charlotte Carpenter, Director of Growth and Business Development