Sheffield youngsters given career kickstart as part of Government-backed scheme
Businesses and charities from across Sheffield have come together to celebrate the first wave of young people completing their six-month Kickstart placements.
Last week, on Wednesday, September 29, a celebratory event was held to honour young people from across the city who have recently completed the Government’s Kickstart Scheme.
Among those in attendance was Penistone and Stocksbridge MP Miriam Cates, who gave some inspirational advice and spoke about levelling up across the city.
The event was organised by charity Together for Sheffield, who have worked alongside the Department for Work and Pensions to help young people get placements within businesses and charities.
The Kickstart Scheme makes up part of the Government’s ‘Plan for Jobs’ skills and employment programmes.
It offers six-month jobs for young people aged 16 to 24 who are currently claiming Universal Credit and are at risk of long-term unemployment.
The Department for Work and Pensions funds 100 per cent of the age-relevant National Minimum Wage, national insurance and pension contributions for 25 hours a week over a six-month period.
Employers can choose to top up this wage and are eligible for a £1,500 Government grant for training people on a Kickstart placement.
Ben Woollard, CEO of Together for Sheffield, said: “Unemployment has affected young adults at four times the UK average. Meanwhile, the pandemic has created a hidden recession; A recession of social capital and social confidence. We have less opportunity to build meaningful relationships, and when our relationships have less meaning, we suffer as people and our community suffers. We get poorer.
“We know that faith groups are rich in trust and social capital. They are well-connected networks that have centuries of experience in supporting people and serving the marginalised.
“That is why we at together for Sheffield wanted to pilot an approach with your help that other faith groups, policy makers and community organisations could learn from. An approach that would provide fantastic job experience, training and the opportunity for the kickstarters participating to be invested in and invest in each other. To grow their work skills but also their social capital and confidence.”
Over the last six months, Together for Sheffield have provided up to 12 full-day training sessions running fortnightly over the 6-month placement period, delivered in partnership with Rebuild a Generation and Grow.
The training covered a broad range of employment skills, including CV and interview skills, confidence, and leadership and also allowed kickstarters to hear stories from working professionals across Sheffield.
One individual who has benefitted from the training is Joe Collins, who graduated from University at the height of the pandemic and struggled to find employment.
Speaking about the scheme, Joe said: “I got my first job through the kickstart scheme back in May. It involved trying a few different positions within a company to find out what I was good at and enjoyed. So it has been really helpful in helping me narrow down what I want to do.
“It’s been a great opportunity to meet people and make new connections. It’s been really good to get out and do something different as well.”
The 24-year-old has been working as an analyst, which he says has been 'interesting' and 'fun'.
Josh Cutting, Kickstart training lead at Together for Sheffield, said: “I think one of the best things has been seeing here they came to us and seeing where they end.
"We’ve come out of the back of a pandemic that has stopped people socially engaging, but we’ve created this environment where that has been made easy.
“It’s honestly been a joy to see their transformation in their character and I think employability now, I would say this group are far more employable now than they were six months ago.”
For more information about Together For Sheffield and the work they do, visit www.togetherforsheffield.co.uk.