Reet Dhallu, Lead Regional Membership Manager, walks us through the Government's kickstart scheme and its benefits young people, businesses, and how the Chamber can help.
What is Kickstart?
In short, the Kickstart scheme is a £2 billion investment by the Government to create new job placements for young people between 16 – 24 years old on universal credit. Any employer can apply for this funding, which covers 100% of the national minimum wage for 25 hours per week, associated National Insurance contributions and the Employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions, but employers must be able to pay this out initially.
In addition to the funded placements, there is further funding available for training and support, so the young person has a greater chance to secure future employment.
Young people will be presented with an array of placements through DWP, and then candidates will be referred to employers to select the best suited candidate for the placement.
Essentially, the young person will receive valuable work experience and training and the employer can access additional resource funded by the Government.
Employers can take advantage of the scheme up until June 2022, with the last placements starting in December 2021. Any employer that has fewer than 30 placements available at their own organisation must apply through a Gateway organisation. The Chamber is a Gateway organisation.
How did we become a Gateway?
GM Chamber is a business membership organisation with over 4,200 members from SME’s to corporate giants. When we heard about the scheme, we were keen to get involved to support employers and young people based in Greater Manchester through their kickstart journey.
Although we are a large network, we recognise we are well placed to contribute as a Gateway to all businesses in Greater Manchester. We can facilitate placements as well as putting together an attractive package of wraparound support which will benefit both employers and young people. Through our wraparound support, we can help young people build their professional skills at a time when unemployment is rising.
The story so far?
So, our journey so far has been exciting - getting the chance to learn about the scheme and the impact this will have not only the business landscape but young people’s career journeys. We were agile and got to grip with the scheme quickly to ensure we could support the raft of employer’s keen to kick on with kickstart with their proposed placements. So far, we have submitted several applications on behalf on 61 companies with over 200 placements. This really shows how keen employers are to get young people into their workforce and give them opportunities they would not have been able to create without the Kickstart Funding.
We have also been putting together our package of wraparound support which includes things like, CV reviews, mock interviews, vouchers for workwear, training on soft skills and wellbeing etc. We are still developing this, to ensure it is the most inclusive and effective support for young people to advance their skills for future employment opportunities.
We are currently in the process of waiting to hear back on whether our applications are successful.
The role of GM Chamber in making things happen
This scheme will not only kickstart the economy but kickstart the careers of thousands of young people. Greater Manchester employers, trade organisations and people are coming together to make this happen.
We have formed a great working relationship with DWP in Greater Manchester, this has been beneficial so far and will be important in the delivery of this scheme. We are excited to be working with employers across the whole of Greater Manchester from many different sectors and sizes of businesses to facilitate placements for the wide-ranging young talent of Greater Manchester.
How it has made me feel?
It has been a pleasure to lead on this scheme at GM Chamber, I have quickly learnt about Kickstart and the wide variety of benefits this presents to employers and young people in GM. I have been able to work directly with employers across GM to understand more about their businesses, changes in their workforce, their growth strategies and how this scheme can be of real value to them during this time.
It has had a profound impact on me so far giving young people opportunities to increase their skill set, whilst providing valuable resource to businesses that would not be able to provide these opportunities without the scheme.
I am looking forward to working on the scheme and seeing young people get into placements, building on the skills and hopefully getting into full time employment.
Find out more about the scheme here.