Press: Daily Record, 6 October 2020
How the UK Government’s Kickstart Scheme will create valuable on-the-job training for 16-24-year-olds
The £2billion initiative will create hundreds of thousands of jobs for young people across Scotland
Businesses have faced tough times during the Covid pandemic, but the UK Government has acted quickly to protect lives and jobs.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a package of measures to support jobs in every part of the country, giving firms the confidence to retain and hire staff as well as providing people with the tools to get better jobs.
Nearly 12 million people were furloughed with a £160billion support package, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. And now the £2billion Kickstart Scheme will create hundreds of thousands of jobs for 16-24-year-olds.
James Rennie, 32, who runs menswear retailer Ryan James Studio in Glasgow, is one employer who’s thinking of using the Kickstart Scheme to create an opportunity for a young person.
“I work by myself, and trying to manage everything from orders to the website is a lot, so I’ve considered the Kickstart scheme to employ a digital marketing assistant,” he says. “They can focus on social media, updating the website and writing blog posts, driving traffic to the website for sales.
“It’s challenging for those coming out of school, college or university. We all know how competitive it is to get into the creative industries, so I think this is a really good way to enable small businesses to give coaching.”
Under the new scheme, companies can create 30 jobs – or if they’re a small business they can team up with others to reach that number.
“We’re really lucky in Scotland to have a supportive creative network, with associations such as the Creative Entrepreneurs’ Club,” says James. “I’m part of Business Collective Scotland, and we’re seeing a lot of collaboration coming through. I’ve been in touch with the Glasgow City Chamber, so being part of a group is definitely an option.”
James also took a UK Government-backed Bounce Back Loan earlier this year, which allowed him to grow the business by building an app. “That’s been key,” he says. “It gave us the opportunity to invest in the digital side of the business.
“I’m pleased the Chancellor has extended the loan scheme – it’ll allow more businesses to invest in moving forward as well as extending the time to repay. This will definitely help take a little pressure off.”
For James, the website and social media are now priorities, so employing someone to focus on that through the Kickstart Scheme will benefit the business as well as giving one young person the chance to boost their career with on-the-job training.
“I think it’s a great scheme and you can learn a lot, particularly in a small company or a start-up,” he says. “Any experience is valuable. I studied broadcasting and somehow found my way into visual merchandising. I learned how important it is to work with different people, to build your personal skills.
“These creative industries give an insight into what’s happening at the minute too. Digital and social media are at the forefront of this, so spending six months getting experience in these is key.”
Businesses in England, Wales and Scotland can apply for Kickstart funding to create new six-month job placements for young people currently on Universal Credit. They’ll get the experience they need to find work once they’ve completed their placement, and funding is available for 100 per cent of the National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus National Insurance contributions and employer automatic enrolment contributions.
Employers: How to apply
If you can create 30 new jobs then you can apply directly for the Kickstart Scheme.
For smaller firms creating fewer than 30 job placements, other organisations – eg, a group of similar employers, local authorities, trade bodies and registered charities – can apply on your behalf.
Funding is available for employers for 100 per cent of the minimum wage for 25 hours a week, plus National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions.
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