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Apprentices hired across Kent through Kick Start Kent campaign with 14 companies completing process so far

By Chris Price

The Kick Start Kent apprenticeship campaign is well on its way to success.

More than a dozen companies have hired an apprentice after seeing the initiative which Kent Business launched in October.

It aims to get 100 firms to take on a young person within the year and is on target to achieve that, with 112 employers having pledged to sign up to the scheme.

From left, mhs homes' new administration apprentices Ella Thurman-Newell, Lauren Hunn, Justine Russell and Millie Patrick

If every company follows through on its commitment – with pledges coming in every day – the campaign will have found apprenticeships for 163 people.

So far, 14 employers have completed the process and hired an apprentice after seeing the campaign in Kent Business.

Each is running an apprenticeship with campaign partner MidKent College, who joined the initiative in March after pledging to double its original target from 50 companies to 100.

“It’s quite remarkable how many local employers have really taken up the campaign..." - MidKent College's Jacqui Brown

They were inspired to throw their weight behind the programme after the Duke of York backed the initiative when he paid a visit to Maidstone Museum in February.

Another 33 companies are having vacancies advertised with MidKent College at present.

Head of business development Jacqui Brown said: “It’s quite remarkable how many local employers have really taken up the campaign.

“It has raised awareness in Kent of how apprentices can support business growth. I have not known anything like it.”

Many employers have been attracted by the fact MidKent College – like many training providers – handles the recruitment process entirely.

Ms Brown said: “We take all the bureaucracy away from the employer and do all the scanning for candidates for them.

“A business’s main concern is about the paperwork and where to go to get the best help.

“From the moment they ring up to say they are interested we do all the advertising and present them with suitable individuals.

To join the KM Group's Kick Start Kent campaign, email kickstartkent@thekmgroup.co.uk

“Some firms have been so impressed with the people we shortlisted for them that they have increased their number of vacancies.”

Among the companies to have hired an apprentice is Maidstone-based IT support company Absols, who now employ six people.

They hired former Aylesford School Sports College pupil Joe Kent, 21, at the end of March, who has impressed them with his rapid computing abilities.

Apprentice Joe Kent, 21, from Maidstone was hired by IT support company Absols through the Kick Start Kent campaign

Marketing director Paula Wilkinson said: “His keyboard skills are exceptionally fast. Having been brought up on computers, the speed with which he sees information on screen and deciphers the relevant parts is impressive.

“His enthusiasm is infectious and he is always striving to learn more and wanting to know more about the business world.

“Hiring him has also been very cost effective. Recruitment agencies would charge for a fully qualified engineer and they are set in their ways

“We decided that we wanted to train someone up to be able to the job of an IT engineer the way we want it done.

“We want to take him on in a fully trained position after his training.”

To find out more about Kick Start Kent visit
www.KentBusiness.co.uk/KickStartKent or email kickstartkent@thekmgroup.co.uk

Companies who have hired an apprentice through Kick Start Kent campaign so far:

PJS Direct – 1

mhs Homes – 4

MidKent College – 3

Pathways to Independence – 1

Charity Bank – 1

Workflow Solutions – 1

Kent Assessors – 1

Absols IT – 1

A&B Flooring – 1

Eden Hair – 1

Our Tech – 3

QS Support – 1

Portal Financial – 5

Perfect Engineering – 1.

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