Scheme looks to kickstart opportunities for young
By Rob Freeman | 2nd September 2020
Businesses are being urged to take on young trainees as park of the Government's Kickstart scheme which they can sign up to from today.
Designed to offer "a future of opportunity and hope" for people under 24, the scheme is aimed at tackling the rising unemployment problem as the furlough scheme begins to wind down.
It offers six-month work placements of at least 25 hours a week for anyone aged 16-24 who is out of work with the Government paying employers £1,500 for support and training.
Government figures suggest more than half a million people are in the eligible category with the first placements on offer from November and the scheme running until at least December 2021.
Each Kickstart job will be paid for by the Government at age relevant minimum wage with National Insurance and pension contributions.
Employers, who can sign up at gov.uk/kickstart are able to top up the pay or extend the position beyond 25 hours a week.
Applications must be for a minimum of 30 job placements or businesses can partner with other organisations to reach the minimum number.
Chanceller Rishi Sunak described the scheme as as "opportunity to kickstart the careers of thousands of young people who could otherwise be left behind as a result of the pandemic."
While welcoming the scheme, the Federation of Small Businesses believes more technical education and skills need to be taught.
FSB national chairman Mike Cherry said: "Incentives for apprenticeships aren't enough on their own to keep businesses afloat as well as hiring an apprentice, so more must be done to ensure small firms have all the support they need to survive and then thrive after this pandemic."
Gloucester MP Richard Graham, who is hosting the Gloucestershire Jobs, Skills & Apprenticeships Lift Off at Kingsholm on September 11, has encouraged Gloucestershire employers to get involved.
He said: "This offer should help more employers large and small to invest in the skills to help them recover and grow."
Punchline-Gloucester.com is backing the Lift Off event along with sponsors Gloucestershire College, University of Gloucestershire, Western Power Distribution, EDF Energy, Jobcentre Plus, Gloucestershire County Council, GFirst LEP, Spirax Sarco and Glos Jobs.
Among the speakers will be apprenticeships and skills minister Gillian Keegan who is also encouraging employers to take advantage of the scheme.
She said: "We recognise the huge impact coronavirus has had on individuals and businesses up and down the country.
"Through our Plan for Jobs we've taken unprecedented steps to protect, support and create jobs, including driving more high-quality apprenticeship opportunities to help get our economy moving.
"I strongly encourage as many employers as possible to apply now and take advantage of this generous offer, whether it is used to recruit apprentices for the first time or expand their current apprenticeship offer."
Punchline-gloucester.com editor Mark Owen said: "This is a good idea to get the young people back in to work, but it is disappointing the Government appears to have missed out all the SMEs who could really help kickstart the scheme.
"Suggesting smaller organisations link together is really a none starter for many companies and leaving it to companies with more than 30 employees seems a massive own goal."
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