1,200 vacancies available in East Midlands to help young people into the workplace

The East Midlands Chamber is urging more young people in and around Derbyshire to take advantage of 1,200 vacancies across the region.

Thursday, 3rd June 2021, 2:41 pm

Roles are available across the East Midlands as part of the six-month work placement Kickstart scheme created alongside 650 employers, which has helped more than 150 youngsters in Derbyshire get into work.

Employers keen to create Kickstart opportunities – aimed at people aged 16 to 24 who are on Universal Credit or at risk of long-term unemployment – often use gateway organisations such as East Midlands Chamber to apply to the Department for Work and Pensions for a grant to cover the costs.

Deputy chief executive of the chamber Diane Beresford said: “We know young people have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic and the huge amount of unemployment it has created, so the Kickstart scheme is an important mechanism for helping them to get the skills they need to prepare for the world of work.”

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Birch Print based in Ilkeston joined the Kickstart scheme.
Birch Print based in Ilkeston joined the Kickstart scheme.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the £2bn Kickstart scheme, as part of his Plan for Jobs to help more young people get into work – following a 110% rise in those aged 18 to 24 claiming unemployment-related benefits between February 2020 and March 2021.

Funding pays for National Minimum Wage, national insurance and pension contributions for 25 hours a week and the scheme lasts until December 31.

Family-run specialist print management company Birch Print, based in Ilkeston, took on five ‘Kickstarters’ as an admin assistant, marketing assistant, sales support officer, warehouse assistant and studio technician – labelling the scheme a “no-brainer”.

Romana Mihalovicova is one of five youngsters working on a placement at Birch Print.

Joint owner and sales director Andrea Priestley said: “The uncertainty of the past year has brought a sense of cautiousness that avoids going out on a limb by adding new people to the team.

“But the Kickstart scheme gave us the opportunity to expand with minimal risk to the business, as well as opportunities to give young people the experience that allows them to shine in valid roles that potentially could become full-time positions.”

Ollie Wheway, 23, was awarded the sales support role at Birch Print after a previous apprenticeship ignited a passion in business development.

Ollie Wheway, 23, from Derbyshire, joined in the sales support role at the print specialist firm.

He added: "After I was made redundant, I found it difficult for other prospects to ‘give you a chance’ and the reasoning was always the same – ‘little experience’.

"The demand for work was high and after applying for over 100 positions and almost losing hope, Birch Print offered me a position within its team.

"The Kickstart scheme is vital for the younger generation in such challenging times.”

Romana Mihalovicova also found job opportunities scarce after graduating but is now embracing the marketing assistant placement.

The 22-year-old commented: “Experience is vital in this day and age, and as a graduate going into a field that is different from what I studied, I got a taste of what working in marketing would be like before going into further debt with a master’s degree.

“Now I know this is what I want to do and I’ll have gained substantial experience for the future.”

Anyone aged 16 to 24 and claiming Universal Credit should speak to their Jobcentre Plus work coach and businesses interested in applying for the scheme should contact East Midlands Chamber education and business partnership manager Pieter Eksteen on [email protected] or 0333 320 0333 (Ext 2241).

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