A Scheme designed to open the door to fulfilling careers for young people, now has more than 100 North Yorkshire employers on board.
The Kickstart scheme is a national initiative which was introduced by the Chancellor and MP for Richmond, Rishi Sunak, last year. It was designed to help unemployed people aged 16 to 24 into high-quality jobs and off-set the negative impact of the pandemic on them, as young workers were most likely to be in jobs adversely affected by the pandemic.
In North Yorkshire, more than 100 employers are now offering hundreds of Kickstart job placements in the county to young people in a wide variety of fields in industries and organisations where opportunities might not have otherwise arisen for young people. They include work placements as nursery nurses, site assistants, teaching assistants; in a dispensing pharmacy and even as heritage maintenance workers, restoring and transforming local historic sites for community benefit.
Under the scheme, the Government pays the national minimum wage, national insurance and pension contributions for 25 hours a week during the six-month work placement and employers can top up the wage if they wish.
The Government also pays employers £1,500 to set up support and training for people on a Kickstart placement, help pay for uniforms and meet other set-up costs.
North Yorkshire County Council have acted as a gateway organisation, allowing employers to apply and access the Kickstart Scheme through the council and putting in place employability support for small businesses and charities.
The County Council has appointed 83 Kickstart candidates in this way, directly employing 28 of them.
They include Chelsea McGranaghan, who is currently working as a Business Support Administrator in Network Strategy Administration.
Before receiving her placement, Chelsea was working at Burger King, until her hours were reduced and she needed to find new employment. She now works part-time for the County Council and studies for a Level 2 Accounting course in her spare time.
Her role involves identifying any potential disruption which could be caused by roadworks or construction projects and supporting planning permission requests.
“I was aware of business support roles, but I didn’t realise how much work goes into being an administrator. I thought it was quite a basic role; maybe answering calls or replying to emails, but an administrator can take on a variation of tasks and keeps up with the work going on behind the scenes.
“I’ve gained lots of organisational skills and time management skills in my time working for the County Council. Most days I have at least three tasks assigned, so I have to make sure I work out which to do first so that I have enough time in the day to get it all done. I’ve also realised I enjoy working with maps, mainly because I have always found them too hard to understand. Now I actually enjoy exploring street maps and finding the right addresses for my daily task.
Chelsea added: “I would say to anyone thinking of starting a Kickstart placement, to just go for it. Although you might be apprehensive at the thought of learning a new job, have the confidence to take that step, as it’s a great opportunity for you to develop your skills and experience.”
Another three of the candidates have gained valuable work experience with the Northallerton-based charity, Chopsticks, who received a visit from Rishi Sunak during his visit to Northallerton.
Chopsticks supports adults with disabilities by providing work-based activities which allow members to display their skills, like making garden products as well as providing social activities.
The charity has taken on three young people via the Kickstart scheme and has provided one member with forklift truck training and qualification.
Phil Bramhall, Community Business Manager said they were keen to take part in the scheme and provide valuable skills to help young people improve their employability, while also recognising the contribution they could make to the charity and its staff.
He said: “We have been very pleased with the way all three Kickstarts have applied themselves, how well they have learned to work with our clients and how willing they are to get involved in a broad range of tasks.
“This scheme has provided us with an opportunity to assess the potential of all three people and help them develop their skills and self-confidence, which will set them up for bright future.”
Rishi Sunak said: “It’s great to see so many young people in North Yorkshire who might otherwise have been left behind by the impact of the pandemic taking this opportunity to kick start their careers.
“I am grateful to the county council and other gateway organisations for helping to make the process as easy as possible for employers to give young people the start they need and to assist their businesses as the economy bounces back.”
To apply for a Kickstart role, speak to your work coach at Jobcentre Plus about the Kickstart jobs available and how to get involved.
Find out more if you’re an employer looking to provide a Kickstart job in North Yorkshire.