Experiences of starting the employment journey

Gaining employment and building experience is a rite of passage for young people. It has always posed challenges but some of these are now tougher than they were.

Young people are showing resilience and resourcefulness in finding their path despite youth unemployment at twice the adult rate, a 20% drop in entry-level jobs in their generation, and a pandemic to contend with.

Lucas sat down with us for a chat to reflect on his journey so far. His example offers insight into how a young person builds the transferable skills they need in today’s workplaces and gains resilience and confidence through work. By lowering barriers to employment, providing a breadth of experience, and ensuring an inclusive and safe work environment, we are empowering the next generation to fulfill their potential.

Could you describe any challenges or difficulties finding employment before you started at Good Cycles?

At 18 years old it can be hard to find a job that requires no qualifications. This job didn’t require experience but instead focused on gaining experience on the job. 

Before this job, I had a boss who really did not like me. So, I’ve definitely found working with people that do not actively root against you is pretty great. Good Cycles supervisors create an environment that feels safe, where we feel comfortable coming to them.

Have you developed any new skills in your role so far? 

I would definitely say I’m much better at cleaning! I have very much enjoyed working in Car Services (detailing car share vehicles and keeping them COVID-safe). It allows me to get outside, doing some activity (riding a bike to move from job to job) as well as seeing parts of the city I’ve never seen before. I have a much better sense of direction now. 

A highlight was being able to recommend and train a new employee in car services. It is really great that Good Cycles gave me that input… I really did enjoy the opportunity to be able to teach them about the job.

As of recently, I’ve been gaining experience in the office, and not so much actually cleaning the cars. This has given me more of a chance to connect with more of the team. I am realising just how much work supervisors do, not only in Car Services, but also in Environmental Services (reducing waste going to landfill). The work that has been put in, especially recently because we’ve just changed the software we use – has been incredible.

Lucas gaining experience in the office
Working both in the office and within the street team has given Lucas the chance to broaden his skills

Has being part of the LGBTIQ+ community affected your feeling of belonging, particularly in the workplace?

Being in a position where you sort of have to come out to the people you work with because of a name change is a super annoying thing to do, and definitely, something that I found extremely uncomfortable. But I’ve found that everyone was very accommodating and just all-around nice.

Has the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns affected your work?

During the first lockdown, I stopped working, as I had family at risk and my income was not the most important in the household. I came back between lockdowns, and during the second one, it was pretty clear that everyone was being very careful and safe… wearing masks and disinfecting the warehouse and equipment.

How does your current employment make you feel?  

I’m honestly just glad I have employment now, and it doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon. I’m feeling a lot more relaxed having the financial stability that this job has afforded me. I’m currently still living at home, but I’m planning on moving out by the end of the month. This job has given me the opportunity to gain so much more independence. 

Head to our impact page to learn more about how we help young people on their employment journeys.