An Interview with a Previous Kickstarter, Kara Byrnes

Kara joined the team as a Kickstart employee in 2021, before being given a full-time position as a Conference & Events Executive at the beginning of the year.

Enquire Now

How did you find out about the Kickstart opportunity?

I went to a Jobs Fair at Edgbaston Cricket Ground; they had a Kickstart stand and were advertising all of the different roles that they had available. There wasn’t any open jobs on there that I was particularly interested in, but I kept them in mind for future applications because it looked like a really good scheme – so I made it my mission to look for a Kickstart opportunity in my own time which suited me, and eventually I found Compass!

Where did you apply for it, and what was the application process like?

I applied for it online via Indeed with my work coach. I didn’t like any of the jobs he was advising me to go for, but I showed him the opportunity at Compass and insisted on applying for that one. We went through the process together, and one of the lovely ladies from the Kickstart fair at Edgbaston helped me with it too = so luckily, I had two people to help me complete the application.

How did you feel going into your interview and during?

I felt the regular amount of nerves you would feel going into an interview. One of the first questions I remember being asked was “What do you think generates the most amount of income in Compass,” which was such a left-field question which really made me think (and I definitely got it wrong!) The unexpectedness of that question put me at ease instantly.

I was also contacted by my interviewer prior to the interview date, as she asked me to do a little bit of research into some venues – this really helped me to feel prepared for the interview, as I knew a little bit of what to expect, so that way I didn’t feel completely in the dark.

When leaving the interview, I was quietly hoping that I’d get the job, as everyone I met was so lovely and the role excited me.

When you started the role, how did you find the onboarding process?

The team was welcoming and helped me to feel settled as soon as I started the role, this was my first job in the hospitality industry, and the team were friendly and patient, answering any question I had, no matter how small or obvious it may have been. They also didn’t make me feel silly for asking them for help or guidance. Over the coming weeks, they trusted me with more responsibilities which made me feel comfortable and welcomed, giving me a good foundation to start the job well!

Levy UK+I gave Kickstarters the opportunity to work at The Brits 2022 – how did you find working there?

It was such an amazing experience – I’d never done anything like that before, in any job I’ve worked in. It was also insightful to see how Levy and The O2 works, which is one of our venues, behind the scenes, which I would never have experienced elsewhere. I was also able to chat to some stars from Emmerdale!

Do you feel like that was an experience you would only have gotten as a Kickstarter with Levy?

Absolutely. The previous jobs I’ve worked in came with opportunities, but nothing has ever reached that level before.

When the full-time opportunity came up at the end of your apprenticeship, what made you want to apply?

I already felt like part of the Lime Venue Portfolio family at that point, and already felt comfortable in the knowledge I had built up which gave me the confidence to want to work there part time, and I also had the thirst and the drive to want to learn more.

How do you feel when reflecting your professional development before and after completing the Kickstart programme?

I’ve developed by an insane amount. There are things that I can do, that I would never have imagined I’d be able to do before the Kickstart programme. My confidence has grown massively, including my phone communication skills, I’m able to build working relationships across our venues and the wider Compass business. I’ve been able to close big-budget contracts which isn’t something I would ever imagine myself doing, and now it’s just part of my daily role!

Do you have any advice for someone who may be contemplating whether to be a Kickstarter?

Go for it! It’s such a good way of dipping your toe into an area you’ve never worked in before. Should you enjoy it and wish to proceed in that industry, it’s such a great way to get your foot in the door to find a permanent position with the experience and knowledge you’ve gained, and also enables you to network and network contacts within a company as big as Compass Group, as well as valuable industry clients. As well as this, the transferrable skills you gather can set you for life, even outside of your chosen sector.