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Wokingham Borough Council creates new jobs for youths with its Kickstart Scheme

Wokingham Borough Council has announced that its application to the Government’s Kickstart Scheme has been successfully approved; creating a number of new job opportunities in the area for young people who are currently on Universal Credit and are at risk of long-term unemployment. 

The aim of Kickstart, which is part of the Government’s ‘Plan for Jobs’ scheme, is to get 16-24-year olds who are struggling to find work, into employment during the Covid-19 pandemic. Each job placement is completely new, lasting for six months and helping young people to build their confidence and experience in the workplace; all while earning a regular wage for up to 25 hours per week. 

To apply for one of the council’s Kickstart roles, applicants must be registered with Jobcentre Plus and be claiming Universal Credit. Those already registered and claiming Universal Credit can discuss the eligibility criteria with their work coach to see if they’re a suitable applicant.

Roles will vary from internal-facing positions within the IT and HR teams, to external-facing roles as part of the council’s Covid response. 

The Council has also acted as a gateway for its adult social care services partner, Optalis, who’s application has also been successful and will create a number of support roles as part of the scheme. At this stage, the application covers a total of 25 Kickstart placements at Wokingham Borough Council and five at Optalis. 

Cllr John Kaiser, executive member for finance and housing says: “There’s no doubt that the pandemic has hit young people hard and for many, employment opportunities have been few and far between. For these young adults who have been struggling to find work, the Kickstart Scheme will provide a life-changing opportunity to step onto the career ladder and we are delighted to be able to help. Not only will they gain hands-on, paid experience in a real working environment; they will also receive training alongside their job to help them excel and land permanent jobs in the future. This will cover key employability areas, such as writing a CV and learning basic IT skills.” 

The scheme is funded by the UK Government, covering 100% of National Minimum Wage (or the National Living Wage, depending on the age of the participant), associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions. More than 19,000 jobs have been created for young people across the UK, covering a wide range of industries. The scheme is due to end in December 2021. 

“It is very important to us to take a proactive approach in supporting and preparing our future workforce”, says Cllr John Kaiser. “Therefore, we are encouraging anyone within this age bracket, who is currently claiming Universal Credit, to speak to their Jobcentre Coach about their eligibility criteria for our roles. We are also urging local employers of all sizes to consider applying for Kickstart Scheme funding and help provide even more employment opportunities for young people in the area.”

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