Wirral Chamber of Commerce has become an approved gateway provider for the Government £2bn Kickstart programme, a scheme bringing benefits to businesses and young people in facing up to the challenges and economic effects of COVID-19.
The scheme was launched in September 2020, and as of March 2021 over 500 placement opportunities have been available within the 100+ companies of all sectors which are currently participating in creating six-month work placements positions, including roles in areas of finance, customer services, grounds people, teaching and marketing, engineering and hospitality.
Wirral Chamber of Commerce identified that there was a potential gap as sole traders and partnerships could not apply for the scheme, and as such this would mean that these exclusions meant a huge number of missed opportunities. Wirral Chamber of Commerce can offer access to the scheme as it is also an approved Kickstart Gateway Plus provider - only one of two organisations nationwide. This means that the Chamber employs the young people and then ‘places’ them within those businesses or organisations which are able to offer work placement opportunities, with the hope that longer term some may eventually translate from placement into permanent employment.
Wirral Chamber of Commerce is actively working with the business community in enabling them to offer job experience and work placement opportunities vital for creating jobs and giving young people the skills to access them.
The strong partnerships formed between businesses and Wirral Chamber of Commerce is also helping placements by providing comprehensive wraparound support, with many organisations choosing the Chamber to also facilitate employability training on their behalf.
Paula Basnett, CEO, Wirral Chamber of Commerce commented, “This is such a hugely significant scheme. Over the past twelve months the pandemic has had a critical impact on the employment prospects of many, but in particular for those 18 to 24-year olds. We must develop work and skill opportunities and through the Kickstart scheme SMEs, that may have been excluded, can provide much-needed opportunities to young people. We are delighted at the success of the scheme so far and to be the first Chamber in the country approved as a Gateway Plus.”
Ethan Mair joined Wirral Chamber as a Kickstart Coordinator in March 2020, he said of the programme, “Kickstart has been the perfect way for me to get into a job position that I have a genuine interest in, and the entire process was made easy by the very supportive team at Wirral Chamber of Commerce. It is proving to be an incredibly valuable experience and I cannot recommend the scheme highly enough for anyone looking to get a start in a position they can learn from and enjoy.”
Roger Boulton, Director, Every Lesson Counts Tutoring added, “Kickstart has been an absolute highlight of an otherwise unbelievably challenging year. We have been hugely fortunate to have Wirral Chamber of Commerce acting as our gateway for this and through their outstanding guidance and support we have been able to offer young people in Wirral a route into employment.
Wirral Chamber of Commerce has made the whole process a positive experience for us and we are delighted to have been able to welcome new staff to our Every Lesson Counts Tutoring team. Without the Kickstart programme and Chamber support these opportunities for young people would not have been possible. Since starting with us we have already seen the young people grow in confidence and develop their skillsets for taking further strong steps into employment.”
Patsy Crocker, Executive Director, Wirral Chamber of Commerce and Kickstart Lead commented, “This has been a mammoth task to get the scheme up and running, but also it is an exciting and important opportunity for young people and businesses alike. The Wirral Chamber of Commerce team has worked tirelessly in moving things forward with our colleagues in the DWP, and it is rewarding that we can now see young people being placed into many diverse job roles and developing experience and workplace skills. The business community as always has stepped up and offered some very rewarding workplace opportunities for which we are hugely grateful.”
Businesses are contacting Wirral Chamber of Commerce daily to either find out more about the scheme or offering new and varied work placement opportunities which is the best news for the young people of both Wirral and the Liverpool City Region.
If you want more information on the Kickstart scheme or how to apply then please get in touch with the team at email@example.com or on 0151 650 6940.