Mark Hughes, CEO of the Growth Company

More than 1,000 new jobs are currently being created for unemployed young people through GC Kickstart – the Government’s Kickstart programme which is being delivered by The Growth Company – and there’s still time for more firms to sign up.

The Kickstart scheme is a £2bn fund aimed at creating hundreds of thousands of high-quality six-month work placements to those aged 16 to 24 who are on Universal Credit and are deemed to be at risk of long-term unemployment due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

The Growth Company, a £100m plus not for profit social enterprise, is one of the Gateway organisations delivering the programme. With a proven track record of helping people into employment, any money GC makes is reinvested into its services, supporting inclusive and sustainable growth that has real impact.

Since launching last September GC Kickstart has already worked with 582 businesses nationally and is now in the process of creating 1,000 new Kickstart roles to date. Some 298 of these roles have been approved by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), with recruitment beginning through Jobcentre Plus.  The service is completely free to employers and takes all the hassle away from the application process. An experienced, dedicated account manager is on hand to guide businesses through the application process with a success rate of 88 per cent (significantly higher than the national average).

Jobs in tech, logistics, manufacturing, communications, media, fitness, charity, and infrastructure are among the roles on offer giving opportunities for young people who may have otherwise been left behind by the pandemic.

The initiative is aimed at helping young people to gain vital skills and experience that will boost their employability. GC Kickstart goes beyond national requirements, providing additional in work for each young person, an online careers platform with employability modules and a helpline for young people should they experience any issues.

Businesses taking part in the Kickstart scheme will have access to a large pool of motivated and diverse young people currently looking for work, bringing fresh new talent into the business at zero cost to them. The scheme will also offer existing employees the opportunity to further their learning and development by taking on line management responsibilities.

The Growth Company has not only stepped in to help businesses access the Kickstart Scheme, but it has also pledged to support young people by taking on 31 Kickstarters.

These roles, which will be allocated through the Department of Works and Pension, include jobs in digital, social media, admin, CRM, IT, two roles working directly with the GC Kickstart project, and in corporate services.

Mark Hughes, CEO of the Growth Company, said the Kickstart scheme is already delivering real and measurable opportunities for young people to work with some of the UK’s leading businesses but he is urging more firms to sign up to create even more jobs.

He said: “Now is the right time for employers to look at helping those affected by the pandemic and recession, to provide new opportunities for those who need them.

“The GC Kickstart offer has already proved to be popular with businesses that want to create and support opportunities for young people and therefore giving them access to the jobs market, driving the UK’s recovery.

“We have already worked with 582 businesses which will create more than 1000 new roles. That’s a great achievement in a short space of time. Not only will they help young people boost their skills, gain sustainable employment and help them on their career ladder but it is also helping with the economic recovery.

“We’ve made a positive start but there’s still time for more businesses of all sizes and from all sectors to get involved and help create long-term employment opportunities.”

Each job placement lasts six months and is fully funded by the government, helping young people build their confidence and experience in the workplace, while earning a regular wage. Kickstart gives businesses the opportunity to try new roles, which have not been tried before but which will contribute to business improvement and growth.  New business approaches, such as better use of social media, can often be achieved by harnessing the unique skillsets young people can bring.

Young people on Kickstart will also get additional employment support and training to help them progress during their placement, with £1,500 available to employers to cover this training as well as other onboarding costs.

The Growth Company is also working with public and private sector organisations including Bruntwood, BioNow, GMCVO and Stockport Council, so they can offer their own Kickstart service to encourage more businesses to take part.

Mark added: “At the Growth Company we pride ourselves for the work we do with the region’s business community. We want to take the Kickstart scheme one step further by working with public and private sector organisations to help them deliver high-quality placements that go beyond the minimum requirements of the scheme and give young people the chance to start a rewarding career and provide them with invaluable experience.”

GC Kickstart includes a package of support that can be flexed depending on the requirements of the individual businesses who sign up.