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Businesses Hit Kickstart Target As More Than 500 Young People Enter New Roles

A pledge by Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen to help create 500 Government Kickstart roles at local businesses has been met after 511 16-24-year-olds took up positions, new figures revealed today (1 April).

Today is the deadline for Kickstart workers to be in-post for the scheme, a £2billion fund aimed at creating hundreds of thousands of high-quality six-month work placements for young people on Universal Credit.

The Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority acted as a gateway for businesses in the region who wanted to apply for the Government funding, helping local people into work at 123 businesses.

One person that the scheme has benefitted is Sophie Davidge, 18, from Stockton. She has taken up a Kickstart role as an administration officer with Delta Coaches and is set to progress onto an internship with the firm.

Sophie said: “I chose to do a Kickstart placement as it lets me build a career in the field I’m passionate about, as well as it being a great way to earn whilst you learn and build workplace skills. It’s opened up a wide range of other opportunities for me, like being able to work alongside experienced staff that are in positions I aspire to be in the future, gaining tips and skills from them every day in the workplace.

“It’s meant that I have been able to get onto the career ladder with confidence. I’m excited now to progress onto an apprenticeship!”

Mayor Houchen said: “All the way back in September 2020, when the programme first launched, I urged our brilliant local businesses to help create 500 Kickstart roles. I pledged that we’d do all we could to support them through the process so they could help those who might otherwise have been at a huge disadvantage during the pandemic, keeping them economically active.

“I’m delighted to say we’ve gone above and beyond that figure, helping more than 100 firms secure new Kickstarters and get our region’s young people into paid work at an absolutely critical time. Many of these people, like Sophie, are going on to bigger and better things due to these opportunities and it has helped set people across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool on the path to good-quality, well-paid jobs.

“I’d like to thank the companies that saw the chance to back our local people by taking on a Kickstarter and remind them there’s even more support for them out there, thanks to our Tees Valley Business service at Teesvalleybusiness.com. I also want to wish everyone who found work through this scheme a fulfilling and rewarding career.”