Lorna Forrest discusses the new Kickstart initiative and reveals how voluntary sector organisations can get involved
We knew the shocking statistics were coming. Even with the introduction of the Job Retention Scheme to furlough employees, there were still nearly 700,000 UK workers who vanished from UK payrolls since the coronavirus pandemic struck in March.
Many of us have now reverted to alternative ways of working from home, juggling laptops, children, Amazon deliveries, biscuit cupboard temptations and more Zoom meetings than we ever thought possible.
But there are many more working in industries where this just isn’t possible and restrictions are tightening further. And these jobs, in retail and hospitality for example, are traditionally filled with younger people. The most recent Labour Market Statistics show that the number of young people not working or in education could increase by 50%, reaching a total of 1.1 million.
Youth employment experts from the The UK Youth Employment Group (YEG) say that 1000 extra employment, training or education opportunities are needed each day to bring the number of young people not in education employment or training back to pre-crisis levels by October 2021.
To try and tackle this, the Scottish Government has announced the Young Person Guarantee and has asked SCVO to be part of the implementation group. In addition, the UK government has launched Kickstart, a new UK wide scheme which will fund employers to create six month job placements for unemployed 16-24 year olds, covering the cost of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week plus the employer National Insurance and pension contributions.
The aim of Kickstart is help participants to develop their skills and experience, including support to look for long-term work, career advice and developing basic skills, such as attendance, timekeeping and teamwork.
The job placements created with Kickstart funding must be new jobs and must not replace existing or planned vacancies or cause existing employees to lose or reduce their employment.
We want to ensure all voluntary sector organisations have the opportunity to take advantage of this scheme - even if you are only looking for one placement. Any organisation can apply for funding, and there is no limit on the number of placements you can request.
However if you are employing less than 30 Kickstart roles you need to apply through an intermediary representative organisation. SCVO is able to act as a representative and can support you with your application submission. We are currently offering this service to third sector organisations. We also offer wraparound support services which can be claimed as part of your application. This can include employment support, set up costs, training and equipment costs.
SCVO has over 22 years' experience in employment services, supporting nearly 10,000 young people into jobs since 2011 through Community Jobs Scotland. We already have robust application, monitoring and payments systems in place to help get you set up quickly.
Lorna Forrest is head of service delivery and improvement for the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO)