A collaboration between North Devon+ and the Barnstaple Chamber of Commerce acting in partnership with Jobcentre Plus has delivered impressive results for young people and local businesses across northern Devon.
Launched as part of the governments “Plan for Jobs” the programmes aim was to offer subsidised job placements with local businesses, for 16–24-year-olds claiming Universal Credit, and at risk of long-term unemployment.
Under the ‘Kick Start’ scheme 62 young people were accepted into a variety of job roles across Torridge and North Devon, with initial placements designed to last for a period of six months. This gave local businesses the chance to build their capacity, whilst also offering youngsters that took part, invaluable real-world training and experience.
Although the scheme has now closed, many of the participants are still completing their six-month placements. The success of the scheme has been further underlined by 24 of the young people moving into permanent roles with their host companies, leading to sustained employment and a more secure future.
Local businesses and partners have praised the way North Devon+ and the Barnstaple Chamber of Commerce helped to operate the scheme and successfully matched candidates to different roles and industries:
Lineal Software Solutions
"Kickstart has proved to be a real opportunity for our business: the scheme introduced a new team member who is enthusiastic, capable and eager to deliver results - exactly what we're looking for. He's proved be a great asset throughout and is a credit to Kickstart’s aims."
Moo Free Limited
"Kickstart enabled Moo Free to take on employees in a period of uncertainty during and following the pandemic. We have been introduced to some great young people who have gone on to be valuable members of the Moo Free family, in fact two of our recruits have just completed their first full year of employment. We actively support employees with autism, who can find it difficult to find work and navigate the recruitment process. Through Kickstart we have increased the number of employees with autism and hope they will develop their careers with us."
“The Kickstart scheme has provided Atlas Packaging with several valued employees that otherwise would not have been found.”
Karen Palin, Senior Kickstart District Account Manager – Jobcentre Plus, said: “As a Gateway Organisation, North Devon+ and Barnstaple Chamber have proved to be invaluable partners for Jobcentres Plus in North Devon.
“They wholeheartedly embraced the challenge of providing quality, sustainable employment to young people within their catchment area. Their commitment, creativity and engagement coupled with an in depth understanding of the landscape of local employers enabled them to deliver tangible benefits to both employers and young people across the region.
“The number of Kickstart employees who have been retained as permanent employees or succeeded in securing other ongoing employment is a testament to the long-term, positive impact North Devon+ and Barnstaple Chamber has made on their community and we in DWP look forward to continuing this successful partnership as we now deliver the Way to Work agenda to the wider community.”
Councillor Ken James Leader of Torridge District Council and a Director at North Devon+ said: “The success of this scheme is a credit to the partnership working between North Devon+, the Chamber of Commerce and the DWP. The endorsements from businesses is also a lasting testament to the commitment of the young people and their hard work when given the opportunity of gaining experience and training in a working environment. The fact that many have gone on to be full time employees is the icing on the cake for both the youngsters and employers.”
Councillor David Worden, Leader of North Devon Council said: “It is often the lack of opportunity to gain initial experience that limits the prospects for our youngsters these days and the kick start scheme has proven to be a catalyst for overcoming that hurdle for those that signed up and took part. The many kind words of praise from the businesses involved is really gratifying to hear and clearly reinforces the positive contribution the placements made to their businesses.”
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