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East Midlands Chamber News

East Midlands Chamber helping 550 young people to find jobs through Kickstart scheme

East Midlands Chamber is teaming up with local authorities and other organisations across the region to get young people into work via the Kickstart scheme – already facilitating more than 550 work placements.

The chamber of commerce for Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire has signed up 400 businesses that want to take advantage of the Government programme, which will cover the cost of a six-month placement for 16 to 24-year-olds who are on Universal Credit or at risk of long-term unemployment.

Employers that want to create at least 30 placements can apply directly to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) for a grant to cover the costs, but companies with fewer than 30 roles must apply via recognised gateway organisations, such as the Chamber.

To engage more businesses to create job opportunities for young people in their communities, and benefit from the additional resources offered by work placement students, the Chamber has collaborated with the likes of Melton Borough Council to hold information sessions.

Diane Beresford, deputy chief executive of East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire), said: “We know young people have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic and the huge amount of unemployment it has created, so the Kickstart scheme is an important mechanism for helping them to get the skills they need to prepare for the world of work.

“Businesses that take part will be playing a vital role in their communities by supporting and preparing our future workforce, but there are also many benefits for employers.

“As this is a fully-funded scheme, it allows organisations to trial new roles, and provides relevant training and mentoring to ensure the young person has the most up-to-date skills and knowledge. There is also a relatively risk-free opportunity to identify good-quality apprentices, opening a pathway for both the employer and employee to grow together.

 “We’re now speaking to individual local authorities to either work in partnership when it comes to applying on behalf of their businesses, or to hold information sessions, as we want to make sure as many companies as possible take advantage of these opportunities.”

How does the Kickstart scheme work for businesses?

The £2bn Kickstart scheme was announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak as part of his summer statement to help young people into work and spur Britain’s post-Covid economic revival, with quarter of a million people aged under 25 claiming unemployment benefits since March.

The Chamber has already held three online information sessions that attracted 180 attendees, many of which are among the 400 that have since registered with the Chamber to recruit for placements. Some of these organisations have multiple vacancies.

Acting on their behalf, the Chamber applies to the DWP for funding, which pays 100% of the age-relevant National Minimum Wage, national insurance and pension contributions for 25 hours a week.

Employers can choose to top up this wage and are also eligible for a £1,500 Government grant for training people on a Kickstart placement.

Applications begin on 1 November and can be made until December 2021 initially, with young people referred into the roles via a Jobcentre Plus work coach.

Diane added: “The number of businesses that have already booked on to our information sessions shows there’s great appetite out there among businesses to take advantage of these opportunities.

“Businesses receive the full salary cost for six months, but we’re also educating them about the finer details, such as how they must provide employability skills to individuals so they will be well-equipped to land permanent jobs in the future.”

East Midlands Chamber teams up with Melton Borough Council to hold Kickstart scheme information session for businesses

The next information session being run by the Chamber, in partnership with Melton Borough Council, will be held via Zoom on Friday 16 October from 1pm to 2pm. It is free for both members and non-members of the Chamber, regardless of where they are based.

It will include a welcome from Councillor Leigh Higgins, portfolio holder for growth and prosperity at Melton Borough Council, and presentations by Chamber deputy chief executive Diane Beresford and employee services manager Paul Needham, followed by a Q&A session.

Councillor Leigh Higgins, deputy leader of Melton Borough Council, said “We understand that Covid-19 has affected our communities in a variety of ways, especially regarding the younger workforce. As part of our new Corporate Strategy, we want to help support the economy and assist businesses in mitigating the negative impacts of Covid-19. 

“This essential scheme will not only open up opportunities for younger residents to gain additional skills, but it will also offer multiple benefits to our local businesses during this challenging time. Therefore, we encourage businesses to engage with the fully-funded Kickstart scheme to help boost our local economy and offer our younger residents vital work roles which will build fundamental skills.

“The information session we are running on 16 October will be a beneficial tool for businesses, helping them to gain further insight into the scheme and prepare for applications opening in November. We encourage all businesses that are interested to attend and utilise this free resource available to them.”

To sign up, click here.