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Kickstart scheme for unemployed youngsters

Across Leicester, businesses will be able to offer young people guaranteed jobs as part of a new scheme in the city.

Leicester City Council is partaking in the Kickstart programme which was created by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to help young people between the ages of 16 to 24, who are currently claiming Universal Credit, into meaningful jobs within local businesses.

The impact of the coronavirus lockdowns have been felt across many different areas of society, and one of the worst hit has been the jobs sector. The scheme is offering an opportunity for people who have been made redundant from one job sector to gain valuable new skills, experience and training in others.

The council is also offering 30 jobs within the city council itself, alongside acting as an intermediary between applicants and local firms by putting candidates in touch with employers who are looking to fill vacancies across Leicester.

Those that take part in Kickstart will be guaranteed a job for at least six months, which could then open the door for further opportunities such as apprenticeships or permanent work placements, depending on the requirements of these businesses.

The businesses that are taking part in this new scheme must offer a six-month work placement for a minimum of 25 hours per week and must pay at least the minimum wage. The jobs also have to be new roles, of good quality and have to focus on specific detailed roles in that business.

The DWP will be paying 100 percent of the age-relevant National Minimum Wage, National Insurance and also pension contributions for 25 hours a week, but employers can also top up these wages of their own choosing. On top of this, the DWP is also paying employers £1,500 for “set up costs” which includes things such as uniforms or training.

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.”

It’s not just the City Council that will be working as intermediaries, however. The East Midlands Chamber of Commerce, the Federation of Small Businesses, and other district councils will be taking part too. The Leicestershire County Council is also offering placements within their ranks too.

This scheme is part of the wider Leicester City Council’s Economic Recovery Plan, announced earlier this week. The council is also recruiting an extra 30 apprentices and 10 new graduate project officers for various roles.

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 scheme is expected to begin in January 2021 and last throughout the year. To find out more, visit the Leicester Employment Hub

Further details on the council’s Economic Recovery Plan are available here


By Sam Ellison