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Natalie joined our team as a Studio Assistant in 2016 on a placement through Talent Match UK. As an initially reserved, quiet individual, the level of projects Natalie is now managing and the impact she has had in our business is phenomenal. We would recommend placement schemes like this to any employer looking for their next ‘one to watch’.”

– Miles McDermott, Managing Director, Aire Global

Natalie's Success on Post-Recession Job Placement Scheme

Natalie polaroid insta

Natalie is a Realisation Specialist for Aire Global

I graduated from University of Huddersfield with a degree in graphic design in 2016, but unfortunately went on to spend around a year unemployed, really struggling to get interviews for a job in design in my area. 

I was signed up at the Jobcentre and they told me about Talent Match, a scheme set up following the recession and funded by the Big Lottery Fund, designed to help unemployed young people develop their employability skills and get a paid work placement. I met with my keyworker, Pav, each fortnight and she helped me to identify which sorts of jobs I would be interested in, as well as helping me examine my CV, portfolio and covering letters. She also connected me with a graphic designer who gave me lots of helpful advice to make my CV and design portfolio stand out to employers.

As part of Talent Match I took part in a workshop on employability skills, learning how to really sell myself to employers. I had to do a presentation which I was nervous about, but my keyworker really encouraged me - this helped me with my confidence for interviews and I now have to do presentations regularly for my job.

Talent Match then sent my CV on to a packaging design company called Aire Global who, with the vital support of Ahead Partnership, created a job placement at their Aire Design studio in Leeds. This led to an interview and I was then offered a six-month placement with wages paid by Talent Match. I started as a Studio Assistant which was an excellent start in the design industry and really built my knowledge, but I was also able to help on small design jobs because of my graphic design skills. Soon I was moved to bigger jobs (my first one was for Special K and was approved first time!)

After the six months I was then hired as a Junior Realisation Specialist and I’ve now been at Aire Design for four years, working for big brands such as Kellogg’s and Pringles. Last year I was a top 5 Rising Star at the UK Packaging Awards, and that’s partially down to what I learned through the Talent Match scheme.

What I really loved about Talent Match was that I was encouraged to explore and find jobs that I wanted to do and that were relevant to my qualifications and passions.

Now that the Government has announced that they’ll be helping employers to create job placements to support recovery from COVID-19, I would encourage any employer to get involved. The commitment of organisations like Aire Global and Ahead Partnership to supporting young people and job creation schemes like Talent Match don’t just help individuals like me to start a career - they also help employers learn and benefit from new talent at no cost for six months. Schemes like this match the right young people with the right skills to the right jobs. It has certainly worked for me - and for Global Design.