Opportunities for young workers as council steers funding bid

This story was published 17 March 2021

A scheme to provide new jobs for the young unemployed is gaining momentum in North Yorkshire with a wide range of options being thrown open to those in the 16 to 24 age range.

Kickstart

The Kickstart scheme is a national initiative, championed by Chancellor of the Exchequer and Richmond MP Rishi Sunak, designed to set young people on the road to fulfilling careers through six-month job placements.

In North Yorkshire, the County Council has stepped in, taking on the co-ordination and provision of employability support for small businesses and charities.

Those recruited will go on to work with a wide range of organisations, including the authority itself, and a diverse range of options are already stacking up.

So far, 45 employers want to offer a total of 208 roles, with the County Council making another 30 roles available, giving a total of 238 new job placements.

While some of those roles will sound comfortably familiar to applicants, others are offering an opportunity to pursue careers which might, otherwise, be more challenging to access.

They include Dream Heritage, which wants new community heritage experts to help galvanise communities into looking after their own assets – while picking up some of the vital skills themselves. Friends of Friarage (hospital) wants a communications assistant who will have the chance to help re-invent the charity’s image. Other roles include a junior data analyst, dispensing assistant and pupil academic mentor.

On a practical level, the scheme offers good-quality jobs with pay, over six months, through the Department of Work and Pensions.

North Yorkshire is acting as a ‘gateway’ organisation, providing support for the Kickstart funding applications, the recruitment process, employability support to the new recruits and an ongoing commitment to offer support through the lifespan of the placement.

All employers can apply, including private businesses, charities and community organisations.

Successful applicants will receive the funding needed to cover the applicant’s wages to the equivalent of the National Minimum Wage that applies to their age group, for 25 hours a week over six months.

Employers will have the option of funding a higher rate of pay, or more hours, at their own expense.

A one-off grant of £1,500 will also be provided to help to establish each Kickstart employee in their new role and provide the support they will need.

Mr Sunak announced the scheme last summer as part of the Government’s Plan for Jobs, when it became clear the coronavirus pandemic would have a negative impact on job prospects, particularly for young people.

When he launched the scheme, Mr Sunak said: “We know young people have been some of the hardest hit by the pandemic and unemployment can have longstanding implications for their future jobs and wages.

“The Kickstart scheme is part of the biggest pack of support for young unemployed people in decades and also offers employers a fully-funded opportunity to find the young people who will help drive their businesses in future.”

Cllr Andrew Lee, Executive Member for Business and Economic Development, said: “This is a great scheme which provides real benefits to both young people in North Yorkshire and the companies and other organisations which operate here.

“The offer has been well-received and it is satisfying to see so many different job opportunities emerging. Kickstart gives a guarantee of six months’ work and that will hopefully lead to extended careers in at least some cases.

“All those involved will have new skills, improved levels of experience and a great addition to their CV by the time the scheme is completed.”

Job placement scheme offers charity opportunity to adapt for future

A North Yorkshire charity is planning to take advantage of the Kickstart job placement scheme to help make sure its image is kept fresh and relevant to new generations of the county’s residents.

Friends of the Friarage is a charity with more than six decades of history, helping to support Northallerton’s Friarage Hospital and health service throughout Hambleton and Richmondshire and over 65 years has contributed more than £5m from fund raising work.

Now they are hoping to employ a communications assistant to help ensure messages about their work and the benefits the organisation brings to the district are clearly understood as the 21st Century progresses – with the added advantage of creating new work in the area.

Friends of Friarage have been able to press ahead with the idea through a collaboration with the County Council, which has taken on the recruitment process.

The job will be advertised shortly and if a suitable candidate is found, they will be employed for six months under the scheme. It is possible a permanent role may follow.

Susan Watson, co-chair of Friends of the Friarage, said: “Although we have been around for so long and have a successful track record, these days not many people know much about us.

“We realised we needed to improve our communications and raise awareness of the charity if we are going to continue successfully.”

It is hoped the charity’s branding and logo will get some attention as part of the new assistant’s work.

Dr Tony Walters, co-chair of the charity, said: “We are going through a rebranding exercise to move into the 21st Century. We know charities are going to suffer because of the situation we are in, worldwide. We need to make sure people are aware of who we are.”

It is expected the new position will help the charity improve its presence on social media to help broaden its audience.