Mayor Ben Houchen had today (8 December) urged local businesses to take advantage of Government’s Kickstart Scheme before it closes as it was revealed Tees Valley Business has helped to create 745 new roles in the region.
The scheme is a £2billion fund aimed at creating hundreds of thousands of high-quality six-month work placements to those aged 16 to 24 who are on Universal Credit and are deemed to be at risk of long-term unemployment.
Applications to Kickstart are due to come to an end on 17 December but the Mayor has called on bosses wanting to benefit to get in touch with Tees Valley Business, which can help them access the scheme.
A total of 365 local people have taken up roles thanks to the initiative, with 30% of them having not worked for a year or more. One person to benefit is Ashley Kerry, 19, from Hartlepool, who is now pleased to be working with the town’s J&B Recycling.
He said: “I was keen to work as soon as I left college, but I couldn’t find a job. Because of lockdown, it meant I didn’t really leave the house. When I wasn’t applying for jobs, I would just play computer games and watch TV. It was ok in the short term, but it was starting to feel as though I was just existing.
“It wouldn’t have occurred to me to apply for a job at a waste management company, but actually this is a great entry level job, and it seems that there are good opportunities to develop within the company – lots of the managers started out in similar roles.
“It is great having the routine of a job now. I work 8am to 2.45pm four days a week and it gives me a purpose. I would definitely recommend the Kickstart Scheme. It’s a great way to get work experience and hopefully it will lead to a permanent job for me in the future. I am learning lots about communication and working as part of a team, which I hope will help in any future job interviews.”
Vikki Jackson-Smith, Director at J&B Recycling said: “Initially we got involved with the Kickstart Scheme more as a community engagement project. But our experience so far has been very positive, and we can see how it will benefit us longer term.
“It is a great opportunity for us to identify and attract fresh, young talent. Having someone work alongside us for six months enables to see how they work, but equally it gives them the opportunity to see what it is like to work for us.”
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “The Kickstart scheme has helped hundreds of young people, some of the worst hit financially by the coronavirus pandemic, find stability with good-quality, well-paid jobs so that they can get some money in their back pockets as well as experience the world of work.
“As Ashley said, it has also given many of them a new lease of life and more hope during what has been a very difficult time for us all, showing how they can stay local but go far.
“I’d call on any local business looking to open up new positions to get in touch before time runs out. These new roles are being funded by the Government so firms can take advantage of our brilliant local talent at no cost to themselves, making it a win-win situation for them and our workforce.”
For more information and to apply before 11:59pm on 16 December, visit www.TeesValleyBusiness.com
Those aged 16 to 24 on Universal Credit can find out about some of the opportunities on offer by visiting TeesValley.Jobs