Thursday 7th April
Alicja Sowinska joined the Kickstart Programme in 2021 after spending a lot of time looking for a job and being unable to secure one due to ‘lack of experience’. When she saw the role advertised by The Book Shelf, she was excited and applied. The application process was well-organised, with the team getting Alicja in for an interview quickly at The Book Shelf. Ameesha’s unconventional interview style took Alicja by surprise, with none of the questions she’d prepared being asked. Instead, she was questioned about her personality and working habits and undertook a quiz about her character, working style, how people perceive her, and how she perceives people. Alicja really enjoyed the interview and was pleased to be offered the role. She felt that there was a strong connection and alignment in values, including a strong passion for the environment between herself and Ameesha.
When starting the role, Alicja was provided with IT infrastructure and supported with commuting as she lives outside Birmingham. She was also provided with specialist training (a Diploma in Marketing) to support her development.
Within her Kickstart placement, Alicja has also been given the opportunity to mentor interns and another young person through the programme. This increased her confidence, taught her what she is capable of doing, and simultaneously supported the development of management skills.
Alicja is grateful to The Book Shelf for employing and supporting her. Previously, no other company would take a chance on her. As the end of her Kickstart placement came nearer, the company offered her a fixed-term contract or the option to go freelance. Alicja has joined the company on a contract and has recently been promoted to Social Media Executive and is looking forward to developing the role. Alicja thinks the Kickstart scheme has worked for her, leading to new experiences, gaining employment and opening up new opportunities.
The Book Shelf Ltd brings nonfiction to life. We help authors create life-changing books on their subject matter expertise because we believe that great books make the world a better place. Our experienced book professionals have worked on over 500 books with authors around the globe from first-timers to New York Times bestsellers. Our services include coaching, critique, editing, proofreading, design, and marketing.
The Book Shelf was born in 2018 but its origin stems much further back. Founder Ameesha Smith-Green has over 11 years of experience in the book publishing industry, from working in-house at a publishing house to working with independent authors while freelancing around the world. She has worked on over 500 books, so she knows what makes good nonfiction. The Book Shelf team are experienced industry professionals including designers and editors, and they all share a love of books and a passion for making the world better.
Ameesha first contacted the Skills Hub in October 2020 as The Book Shelf was prospering and had a lot of work on. She did not directly employ anyone but used around 8 freelancers on a regular basis. Ameesha wanted to move into training as there was a gap in the market to train people to become professional editors. Ameesha was keen to take explore the Kickstart scheme to see if she could support young people looking for work while growing her business.
The Skills Hub supported Ameesha with two rounds of applications to the Kickstart programme, which resulted in three young people being given employment at The Book Shelf. Two Kickstarters were successfully recruited in July 2021 and one in March 2022. Ameesha found the support offered by Birmingham City Council incredibly helpful, they introduced the candidates to her, trained them, and followed up on their progress.
Ameesha was looking for young people who could make a difference to her business and were eager to learn and she was able to find them through the Kickstart scheme. Her business has greatly benefitted from having young talented people, it now has more brand exposure and engagement through a multitude of social media channels.