Before landing her traineeship at Goldfinger Factory in April, Kristina Rochelle had worked in hospitality for 5 years.
‘I didn’t have the confidence to go for a job in graphic design, my degree subject,’ she says. ‘I hid in hospitality. I never felt I was in the right career; I always thought “one day, I’ll do what I really want.” But when I looked for the jobs I wanted, I never had enough experience.’
Opportunities to build experience when you’ve embarked on a career are rare, says Kristina. ‘When I think of a trainee programme I think of someone who’s just finished college. I thought if I applied for one, people would ask questions: they’d want to know what I’d been doing all that time. If there were more traineeships for people my age, I think more people would have the job they really want.’
Now, Kristina’s been thrown into marketing at the deep end. In her role, she writes newsletters, press releases and social media posts, as well as photographing Goldfinger Factory’s products in their new homes. She’s also organised three events over the summer. ‘I’m proud that my confidence has massively improved,’ she says. ‘It used to take me ages to write a social media post; now it comes a lot more naturally.
‘I’m learning about how a social enterprise and a small business work, as well as about marketing. Marie (my manager and CEO of Goldfinger Factory) signed me up to training courses and takes me to talks and events, to build my confidence and open my eyes. I find her to be a huge inspiration to me and I have learned so much from her in such a short space of time.’
For Kristina, who’s lived in the area since she was a child, one of the best things about her traineeship is working with the local community. ‘Goldfinger Factory really try to help people locally,’ she says. ‘Quite a few of the people who’ve volunteered here are people who were just passing by.’ She especially loves the monthly People’s Kitchen: ‘We gather food from markets that would have gone into landfill, and turn it into all these amazing meals and feasts. At 6 o’clock, we open the doors and anyone can come and sit together and have a lovely meal.
‘Golborne Road has really come alive in the last few years,’ says Kristina. ‘It’s rivalling Portobello Road now, for restaurants and cafés and things to see and do. Notting Hill’s a village within London – that village feeling hasn’t changed.’ And it’s onwards and upwards for Kristina too: ‘After just a few months working here, I was able to increase my hours from three to four days a week! I’d like to finish this traineeship with the confidence to apply for a job at a higher level. I’d love to stay at Goldfinger Factory if that were possible, and I definitely want to carry on in marketing. It combines all the skills I’ve learnt in my education with a whole new attitude to looking at things.’
Kristina’s traineeship was jointly funded by Catalyst. Launched in 2016, Goldfinger Factory’s traineeship programme enables companies to sponsor a trainee to earn while they learn at Goldfinger Factory. By sponsoring a place on the programme, Catalyst creates another paid traineeship for Portobello Square, and provides Goldfinger with an extra pair of hands to grow their flourishing upcycling projects.