Published: 08:00, 16 October 2020
One of the county's leading business organisations has teamed up with colleges in Kent to deliver the government's Kickstart programme - designed to get young people into work placements.
The Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce has united with the EKC Group, MidKent and North Kent colleges to serve up the programme launched by Chancellor Rishi Sunak as part of the government's three-pronged approach to help restart the economy.
The chamber will act as the gateway organisation for businesses to access the programme, which is designed for those on Universal Credit, aged between 16 and 24 and who are at risk of slipping into long-term unemployment.
The placements will last for six-months, with employers who take on a young person receiving access to government funding which will cover 100% of their salary and associated employments costs - at the minimum wage rate - for up to 25 hours per week.
In addition, employers will receive £1,500 for each Kickstart placement for training and support.
Chamber chief executive, Jo James , said: “The Kickstart scheme is an excellent opportunity for businesses to make a different to the life of a young person.
“Employment opportunities for young people have been disproportionately hit by the pandemic, with over 18,000 young people aged between 18 and 24 across the county on Universal Credit.
“This is a way employers can engage and help shape a future workforce, and build a stronger local economy. We are excited about working in partnership with the colleges as they are experts in the field of skills development and are well placed to give sector-leading training for the young people accessing Kickstart.”
EKC Group CEO Graham Razey - which includes East Kent College and Canterbury College - added: "We’re passionate about supporting the communities we serve through the current pandemic, and as part of that we want to ensure that young people don’t get left behind. We’re really excited to be working with the chamber as part of the Kickstart scheme."
Simon Cook, CEO of MidKent College , said: “The knowledge and experience that collectively we share, means that Kent’s colleges are ideally placed to partner with the chamber in an effective county-wide approach to the scheme.”
And David Gleed, chief executive of North Kent College added: “We we look forward to actively participating in this key initiative for local young people.”