Business leaders are encouraging small companies in Bristol to participate in the Government’s new Kickstart programme and support the development of “talent for the future”.
Under the scheme, firms that are able to provide six months employment for people between the ages of 16 and 24 will receive funding for 25 hours a week at national minimum wage, as well as national insurance and pension contributions.
Larger businesses able to provide 30 or more work placements can apply for funding directly from the Government, but Business West is acting as an intermediary for smaller firms will less capacity. Placements will be open to under-25s who are claiming Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment.
Nicky Williams, head of skills at Business West, says: “Business West, as part of the British Chambers network, is working with the Department for Work and Pensions to pull together quality placements on behalf of businesses in our region who want to participate in the scheme. Whatever your size of business, we can help you to access this programme.
“At a time when cashflow is tight, it is vital that we, as a chamber and national network, are able to play our role as an intermediary and help employers bring young people into the workplace and develop new talent for the future.
“I encourage businesses from across our region to seriously consider this time-limited opportunity, not only as a way of fulfilling your growth aspirations, but also to give young people the leg up they need to launch a successful career at this challenging time.”
While welcoming the Kickstart employment programme, business leaders have warned that in order to be successful, it must create long-term, quality employment opportunities and ensure that both businesses and employees are fully supported throughout the placement.
The Future Economy Network, which has its HQ on Gloucester Road, is among the companies considering taking part in the scheme.
Director of the Future Economy Network Katherine Piper says: “It is important that our young people are adequately supported and appropriately trained for a green recovery. The Future Economy Network is reviewing the government’s Kickstart scheme to ensure that we can support as many young people as possible in our activities.”
Piper adds: “We will need an enormous effort – of similar proportions to the Covid response on a yearly basis – if we are to adapt adequately to the climate emergency.”
Businesses interested in providing a quality placement can find out more information about the programme via www.businesswest.co.uk/kickstart.
Main photo by Josh Rundle