Hassan Qayyum: Kickstarting my career goals

Helena Senior Interview, Kickstart, Recruitment, Testimonials

Hassan Qayyum: Kickstarting my career goals


  • In January 2021 Premier Advisory Group (PAG) launched a specific Kickstart for Education service. The aim was to enable educational settings to benefit fully from this brilliant initiative and through this, improve life chances and social mobility for young people in the communities they serve. PAG was approved as a Kickstart Gateway in March 2021 and became a DWP National Gateway provider in June 2021.

    With a firm belief in the strength of the scheme, PAG also looked to take on their own Kickstart employees, advertising roles across the country. Through this they found Hassan Qayyum.

Hassan, from Cardiff, received an undergraduate degree in Accounting and Finance having graduated from University of South Wales in 2018, before going on to complete a master’s in Forensic Audit and Accounting. However his real passion is for HR and recruitment, and so joined PAG as a Recruitment Administrator in June 2021. After an impressive start, he was soon promoted to a full-time role as Account Executive and found himself leading the Kickstart team by the end of October. We sat down to talk to him about his journey at PAG so far and what he plans to do next:

Tell us about your first few months here at PAG; how are you settling in?

I feel like I’ve settled in very well; I’ve been here for 5 months but from the start everyone has been so helpful. The team when I first came here was Anna and Ines, with Katie and Paolo also helping out, and they made it really easy to work with them. I’m quite close with them as well now; I consider them good friends as well so that makes it easier to learn when you get on with the people you’re working with. It was quite fun to work with [Anna and Ines] and we just always communicated really well.

Since I’ve been here, I’ve kind of had three promotions. The first one was a mini promotion: I went from working three days a week on the Kickstart scheme to five days a week. After that I got taken off the Kickstart scheme and offered the Account Executive role and now, I am leading the team.

I do have to thank Anna because she’s been a great mentor; I’ve learned so much from her in such a short space of time, and this was my first job so everything I’ve learned has been from her.

Why did you decide to apply to this role through the job centre? Was working in recruitment something you originally wanted to do?

After I finished university, I was applying to do a HR masters degree and I actually did get accepted to study in USA but because of the pandemic I decided to defer that for a year. Then I found out about the Kickstart scheme and thought this was a good thing I could do in the meantime to get some experience.

I told my work coach that I was looking for HR and recruitment type roles, and I found lots on LinkedIn and Google, so I was telling him the roles I wanted to apply for. My work coach actually found this one himself and it was perfect for me.

When I saw the job description, I thought it was something I really wanted to do because of the opportunity for me to gain some work experience and kickstart my career goals, but I’d also be able to help other people do that as well. You know we’ve helped over 150 people start their placements which is amazing, and I hope the kickstart scheme’s been as positive for them as it’s been for me.

"It is an amazing opportunity and if they do take it seriously, they will benefit a lot from the scheme"

How did you find the application process for PAG?

I sent my CV to Katie and the same day Charlotte emailed to arrange an interview! The next week I had the interview and then they offered me the role the next day, so it was a really fast process!

Do you have any advice for young adults like yourself who are considering applying to placements at schools through the Kickstart scheme?

I would just say that they should definitely go for it because the scheme has helped me a lot and I know it’s helped a lot of other people.

Also, they should be serious if they’re going to apply to the scheme; they should at least have some idea about what it is they want to do and when they get onto the scheme, they should take it seriously.

It is an amazing opportunity and if they do take it seriously, they will benefit a lot from the scheme.

Last question: what are you plans next?

I do plan to go back to university; I got accepted to study Human Resources Management at the Ohio State University in the USA, so that is my goal after my time at PAG. Everyone at PAG has been really supportive of that, and James and Anna have even supported with my application for the Fulbright Award.

Please be aware that, after a very successful delivery of the Kickstart scheme, from 17/12/21 we are no longer taking new Kickstart applications. For information on our other services, and how we can support your organisation in other ways, please get in touch using the links below.

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