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Kickstart scheme will help unemployed youngsters onto jobs ladder

Published on Thursday, November 12, 2020

3 minute read

Young people in an office

BUSINESSES across Leicester will be able to offer unemployed young people guaranteed jobs as part of a new scheme taking place in the city.

Leicester City Council is taking part in the Kickstart programme, devised by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to help get young people aged 16 to 24, who claim Universal Credit, into meaningful jobs within local businesses.

The scheme comes at a time when the impact of the coronavirus lockdowns is being felt in terms of job losses, and offers an opportunity for people who have been made redundant from one job sector to gain valuable new skills, experience and training in another.

As well as offering 30 jobs within the city council itself, the local authority’s role will be to act as an intermediary between applicants and local firms, putting candidates in touch with employers across Leicester who want to fill job vacancies. It is now calling on local firms to get in touch through the Leicester Employment Hub to take advantage of the scheme.

Youngsters taking part in Kickstart would be guaranteed a job for at least six months, which could also lead to apprenticeships or further work placements. Organisations taking part will need to offer a six-month work placement for a minimum of 25 hours per week, paying at least the minimum wage.  The jobs must be new, and of good quality, and focus on specific, detailed roles.

The DWP will pay 100 percent of the age-relevant National Minimum Wage, National Insurance and pension contributions for 25 hours a week, but employers can also top up this wage. The DWP will also pay employers £1,500 for set up costs such as uniforms or training for people they take on.

Leicester assistant city mayor responsible for jobs and skills, Cllr Danny Myers, said: “This is an excellent opportunity for young people who are receipt of Universal Credit to get a helping hand onto the employment ladder, through six-month placements in high-quality job roles within local firms.

“Some larger employers with more than 30 vacancies to fill have signed up to take individually, but the city council’s role will be to help employers who need to fill smaller numbers of job posts, who would otherwise be unable to take part.

“Despite the current challenging lockdown conditions, Leicester is home to many thriving small and medium-sized firms in the creative industries, construction, manufacturing, tourism and hospitality, as well as health and social care and the public sector. This scheme is a great way for young people to get vital experience and develop key skills - to earn as they learn.”

Other organisations acting as intermediaries locally include the East Midlands Chamber of Commerce, the Federation of Small Businesses, some district councils and Leicestershire County Council, which is also participating as an individual employer to fill vacancies within the county council.

The Kickstart scheme is included in the wider Leicester City Council Economic Recovery Plan, which was announced earlier this week. In addition to the 30 new 12-month Kickstart posts being created at the city council, the city council will also be recruiting an extra 30 apprentices and 10 new graduate project officers for various roles.

The Economic Recovery Plan lists the ideas and actions the council and its partners are developing to help ensure Leicester’s local economy, jobs market and businesses can remain resilient in these tough times, and will be ready to come back stronger.

Leicester Employment Hub manager, Tracey Waterfield, added: “We are delighted to be able to administer a Kickstart scheme for Leicester businesses. The placements will start to go live in January 2021 and will kick off the new year with a great range of new employment opportunities for young people currently on Universal Credit.

“It will also bring vital Government-funded resource investment into those companies looking to get back to full operating capacity in 2021.”  

The Leicester Employment Hub, which is administering the scheme, is part of the city council’s economic regeneration team, based at City Hall in Charles Street.

Partners in the hub include the Prince’s Trust, De Montfort University, Futures and Leicestershire County Council.  

The scheme is expected to begin in January 2021 and run throughout the year. Applicants and businesses wanting to find out more or to get involved can do so now through the Leicester Employment Hub here.

Details of the city council’s Economic Recovery Plan are available here.