New ‘Kickstart’ scheme will benefit local businesses and give 16-24 year olds the opportunity to gain work experience

Herefordshire Council is set to support local young people and businesses through being a gateway organisation for the delivery of the government’s Kickstart scheme in the county.

Across the UK younger people have been some of those worst affected economically by the pandemic. In Herefordshire there has been a 108% increase in people aged between 18 and 24 claiming out of work benefits since March 2020.

As part of the Covid-19 recovery programme, the Kickstart scheme will provide 6-month work experience placements to 16 to 24 year olds receiving Universal Credit and at risk of long term unemployment.

The Kickstart scheme fully meets the salary and costs for each placement, as well as providing the individual with skills and wrap around support during their placement – such as coaching, mentoring, work skills including supporting job applications, CV writing and interview skills.

Cllr Ellie Chowns, cabinet member for Environment, Economy and Skills, said: 

“We are delighted to be able to act as a gateway organisation for the Kickstart scheme. It has been a difficult time for everybody, but the economic impact of the pandemic has been felt particularly by young people, so it is fantastic that Kickstart will provide young people in Herefordshire with an opportunity to gain valuable work experience and develop employability skills.

“The scheme is part of the council’s objective to help people most impacted by the pandemic, including young people and businesses, to feel safe and supported. It also reinforces the council’s key commitment to work with partners to expand our focus on those at risk of long term unemployment, and young people at risk of not being in education, training or employment.”

Hoople will lead the delivery of the scheme on behalf of the council, and will support 105 placements in 22 of the organisations that have offered placements to date, including 30 within the council and Hoople.

It is anticipated that the number of placements may increase, as once selected as a ‘gateway’ it is possible to request support for additional placements as they become available up until end of December 2021.

Employers have a choice to either access Kickstart through a gateway employer or apply directly to DWP. Further information about the Kickstart scheme