Karmal Waters is a Creative Kickstart Placement at Music Manager’s Forum (MMF), the largest representative of music management in the world. Karmal’s role as Events & Marketing Assistant has allowed him to support the promotion and delivery of their live and virtual events, with a particular highlight being the Artist and Manager Awards where he met the likes of Elton John, Grace Ladoja, Bicep, Karma Artists, Wes Nelson and Hardy Caprio.

Karmal on how he discovered the Creative Kickstart opportunity at MMF:

My background was in retail and I’d worked in that area for about 5.5 years, but towards the end I was starting to get interested in moving into the music industry. I had several interviews, but was regularly rejected because I had no experience and people would just tell me ‘you can’t do this’.

Then earlier this year I was made redundant. I was in a vulnerable position – I had no job, I didn’t particularly want to go back into retail yet the industry I wanted to go into, I had little to no experience in – and that’s where the Kickstart scheme came in.

It was quite a weird experience for me because since leaving college I’ve always worked, then I was put in a position where I wasn’t working, and I had to go into the job centre and tell them about my experience and what I wanted. I remember my Job Coach asking me what I wanted to go into and I said ‘anything music related’. I was doubtful that I would find anything to do with music, but lo and behold MMF and the Kickstart scheme came along and, through my work coach, I was able to find an opportunity in the music industry.

Karmal on the impact of the Kickstart scheme:

I’d say the programme has helped me build up my self-confidence and my self-belief again, because you can be good at what you do, but if a lot of people say no to you and tell you don’t have the experience, it can be quite a downer. So the Kickstart scheme has allowed me to build up my self confidence and go into an industry that I’ve not been in before and use my transferable skills I gained from retail. I’m so grateful – this is everything I’ve wanted to do and it’s been such an amazing experience.

Advice to employers taking on a Kickstarter or an employee in a similar scheme:

Just do it! You’ll be helping someone just like myself to gain an opportunity where they might not have been given an opportunity before and there are no cons to it, you’re getting someone in your team who will help support the organisation and you may potentially fill a hole in your team that you may not have realised was there before.

About Creative Kickstart

Kickstart is a job creation scheme by The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) that provides funding to employers to create six-month job placements for 16-24 year olds currently receiving Universal Credit.

As a gateway organisation for Kickstart, we’ve been working with the sector since July 2021 to support the creation of roles for unemployed young people through our Creative Kickstart programme, funded by the DWP. Since the programme started, it has given over 100 young people six-month job placements within the creative and cultural industries and we expect to see that increase to over 400 before March 2022. Find out more.