Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Young people invited to Kickstart a career with city council

NEW jobs for young people on Universal Credit are currently available with the city council as part of the Kickstart job creation programme.

Kickstart has been 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 with local businesses.

And to mark National Apprenticeship Week (7-13 February), the city council is highlighting the 29 Kickstart jobs it currently has on offer, complementing the 27 council Kickstart roles that have already been filled.

Currently out for recruitment are Kickstart roles in areas including sports, housing, social care, libraries, administration and procurement.

Kickstart jobs are all guaranteed for at least six months, with options to progress to apprenticeships or further work placements. The city council’s adult education service also provides council Kickstart employees with a six-month employability training scheme to help them further their career prospects.

Organisations taking part in Kickstart 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, of good quality, and focus on specific, detailed roles.

The DWP will pay 100 per cent 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.

Manveer Gill, Kickstart Employment Advisor at the DWP, said: “Seeing young people getting into jobs and learning new experiences through Kickstart has been incredible. For someone to be able to work in a sector that really interests them but might not necessarily have had the experience or skills to get into that sector through a normal recruitment experience, means that we can have really rewarding conversations about the direction a young person wants their career to go in.”

As well as already employing 27 Kickstart employees itself, the city council is acting as an intermediary to help small and medium-sized local businesses take part in the Kickstart scheme. Leicester City Council is well placed to do this, as its specialist Leicester Employment Hub works to put candidates in touch with employers across the city and county.

In this way, a total of 112 Kickstart vacancies across Leicester and Leicestershire are either already filled or in the process of being filled.

Assistant city mayor for jobs and skills Cllr Danny Myers said: “We know these are tough times for youth unemployment, so it’s really important we offer meaningful opportunities and support. We’ve offered a number of 12-month city council contracts – longer than the minimum of six months – to reinforce our commitment to Kickstart.

“As National Apprenticeship Week gets under way, it’s the perfect time to highlight our Kickstart vacancies and make sure that young people know there are opportunities out there for them.

“We’ve also been funded by the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP) to create a Kickstart extension programme. This will help local employers to extend their placements for a further six months, allowing young people the chance to start a career.”

Nahida Ahmed, 23, is a Kickstart employee who started a community facilitator job in public health with Leicester City Council in September last year. She said: “Working as a community facilitator has stretched me and taken me out of my comfort zone. Joining regular team meetings to communicate with professionals across Leicester has helped me to improve my communication skills and grow in confidence. I have come out of my shell and I feel much happier in myself, as I know I will be making a difference in the community.”

Joel Carter, 24, also a Kickstart community facilitator with the council, said: “Kickstart has been perfect for me. I always struggled with applying for jobs and this meant I got straight to an interview. I’m very grateful, it’s been a great experience that has taught me a lot and hopefully will kickstart my council career. What made the whole job even more special was my colleagues and managers who made me feel so welcome, which really helped my mental health and self-worth.”

Nazira Vania, a project manager in public health at Leicester City Council, said: “The young people that have joined us through the Kickstart scheme are full of talent and potential. They have been a great asset to our team and have brought valuable skills and perspectives to our project.”

The Kickstart scheme and Employment Hub are both key part of Leicester’s Economic Recovery Plan, which 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 and flourish in these challenging times.

Kickstart vacancies are promoted only through the DWP, where work coaches discuss available opportunities with young people. For more information on city council Kickstart opportunities, young people can email kickstart@leicester.gov.uk or chat with their work coach.

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