Kickstart case study:

Charlotte Kinloch, Young Leader – business development/project management, Ethos VO


My name is Charlotte Kinloch, I am 23 years old and I live in Glasgow, Scotland. I graduated from the University of Glasgow in 2020 with an undergraduate degree in Business and Management, and Philosophy.

In previous employment I had often found my work having a significant negative impact on my mental health. Pressure to work unpaid overtime, poor treatment of employees, hyper-masculine corporate cultures and unattainable targets were elements of work that seemed to have become commonplace.  My Young Leaders journey started as a result of me realising that I could not continue working in environments like this. I wanted to do something meaningful while also working somewhere that made the phrase ‘work-life balance’ irrelevant.

Looking for a job during the pandemic wasn’t easy and I ended up on universal credit as I struggled to find new employment. Finally, I joined Ethos on the Kickstart scheme in January 2021 as part of the people product/operations team. To start with I was focussed on learning about all the different processes related to people in Ethos. I then worked to come up with ways to streamline those processes. I also worked in recruitment while we grew the Young Leaders project and helped to interview and recruit 30 Young Leaders. I am now focussed on business development for the Young Leaders project while also taking on a project management role. I feel so passionately about what we are doing with the Young Leaders project and I am determined to continue to help young people access sustainable employment and to be an advocate for the future of work.

Finding work during the covid-19 pandemic became my full-time job in itself. Even with a degree, good grades from school and plenty of work experience and internships under my belt, I still ended up on universal credit. I can’t imagine how much worse it would have been if I did not have the privilege of having all these qualifications and past experiences.

I have gained so much from being a Young Leader at Ethos. I think the biggest change for me is the improvement in my wellbeing and quality of life. I am given so much agency over my work and have the freedom to solve problems in my own way which is not something I have ever experienced in work before. Furthermore, everyone in Ethos has a wellbeing mentor and there is no stigma around looking after yourself properly and taking time off when you need it – in fact, it is actively encouraged! We also all complete a ‘value exchange’ agreement because that is exactly how work is viewed here – it is an exchange of value. There must be value (both financial and non-financial) gained for both parties. We look back at the value exchange on a monthly basis to see what we have achieved and to recognise the valuable outcomes that have been delivered. This approach to work in which young people have autonomy and freedom to fail, learn and grow has allowed me to do just that and it has been amazing.

Watch Charlotte and more video case studies here. 

“As a key part of the initial YL team Charlotte has pathed the way for so many of us to access paid work that we feel passionately about and enjoy – for this I am so grateful!” Quote from another Young Leader.

“I love working with you, I love your determination, I love the passion you are bringing to everything you do, in particular Young Leaders” – Quote from Young Leaders product owner

Young Leaders is an Ethos Work venture launched in response to the Covid emergency in 2020. The scheme offers training, development and workplace opportunities to anyone living anywhere in the UK, aged 16 – 24 and on Universal Credit. This is a youth-led solution operated by a team of partners and mentors from within the Ethos group, and supported by the UK government’s Kickstart Scheme which is funded by the Department of Work and Pensions.