With the LLEP area Kickstart Extension Scheme, employers across Leicester and Leicestershire are being urged to take advantage to enable them to extend paid work placements for young people.
The Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP) pledged £500,000 of funding to build on the work already done under the Government’s Kickstart scheme, which offered six-month paid work placements for 16-24 year olds who receive Universal Credit. The LLEP extension scheme launched in September 2021. To date 29 businesses have benefitted, and 43 young people have been given extended placements, across a wide range of sectors and placement roles, but there is still scope on the programme to take more applications.
The LLEP funding, from its repurposed Growing Places Fund, doubles the duration of Kickstart placements to 12 months, meaning more young people can gain crucial experience and skills to help them onto the employment ladder.
The scheme is being administrated by Leicester City Council on behalf of the LLEP, and will be applied across Leicester and Leicestershire, regardless of location or current Kickstart Gateway provider.
Leicester and Leicestershire’s population of 16 to 24-year-olds is above the national average, and data gathered by the LLEP shows that young workers are more likely to be disadvantaged by any economic downturn. Extending the duration of Kickstart job placements within Leicester and Leicestershire small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) will also give young people who have had to change occupations due to Covid-19 more opportunity to develop important job-related skills.
LLEP’s 2019 Employer Skills Survey showed that 68 percent of employers in business and other services cited having relevant work experience as critical to recruitment for young people.
The extra funding follows work by the LLEP and wider local partners to assess the economic impact of Covid-19 and to deliver a recovery plan which focused on the key priorities needed to support local businesses and people, and was part of a package of skills support measures.
Kevin Harris, Chair of the LLEP Board of Directors, said:
“Our Employers Skills Survey tells us that relevant work experience is consistently cited by employers as among the most critical factors for recruitment. Local young people who can give evidence of this have a greater chance of securing and sustaining employment. The additional LLEP funding is greatly improving the employment prospects of young people participating in the scheme, and also helps to support local SMEs with their skills needs.”
Youngsters taking part in Kickstart will now be guaranteed a job for a further six months, which could also lead to apprenticeships or a permanent job. The Kickstart extension aims to help up to 90 young people and will support the LLEP area economy, young people and businesses as the region emerges from the disruption of Covid-19.
The Leicester Employment Hub, which is administering the scheme, is part of the city council’s economic regeneration team, based at City Hall in Charles Street. Partners in the hub include the Prince’s Trust, De Montfort University, Futures and Leicestershire County Council.
Applicants and businesses wanting to find out more or to get involved should visit: Leicester Employment Hub Kickstart Extension. Applicants must meet eligibility criteria.