‘Fantastic’ Response in Orkney to Kickstart Scheme

Orkney Islands Council has had a ‘fantastic’ response already from local businesses and employers about the UK Government’s Kickstart scheme – with enough eligible work placements already submitted to enable them to make a formal bid to become a Kickstart Gateway.

Kerry Spence, Community Learning and Development Manager with a remit for employability support in the county said:

“We’re so grateful for the very quick response we have had from local businesses. We really couldn’t have hoped for a better response, as it now enables us to get a bid in to become a Gateway for the scheme. Without the prompt response we’ve had from employers, that just would not have been possible to the deadline for Gateway applications that’s just been announced.

“Individual business now have the choice of applying through a Gateway or direct to the scheme. However we urge employers who’ve not already contacted us about the scheme to do so for further information and support.

“Meanwhile we hope to hear if our bid to be a Gateway for the scheme is successful over coming weeks.”

Anyone interested in finding out more can contact Kerry Spence at Orkney Islands Council on 01856 87 35 35 (ext 2408) or email kickstart@aspireorkney.com

The UK government Kickstart scheme is a £2 billion fund aimed at creating hundreds of thousands of high-quality work placements for young people aged 16 to 24 who are on Universal Credit and are deemed to be at risk of long-term unemployment. It covers 100% of the National Minimum Wage (or National Living Wage depending on the age of the participant) for 25 hours per week for a total of six months, as well as associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions.

Employers will also receive £1.5k for every person they employ through Kickstart. There are no conditions on the use of this money, however it should be used to support initial set up of the placement such as purchasing new equipment, relevant training or one to one employability support for the young person.

All jobs created for the Kickstart Scheme must be new jobs. They must not replace existing vacancies or lead to a reduction in hours for existing employees. All job placements must start prior to 31 December 2021.

If the bid by OIC, OCTG and the Economic Recovery Steering group is successful, the Council’s Community Learning and Development team would provide support for employees through their employability team. There would be additional support for people with learning disabilities through the Council’s Learning Disability Employment Support team.

Orkney Construction Training Group would provide the administrative support for the scheme including paying both the young person’s wages and the £1.5k grant to employers.

Commenting, Glen McLellan , chair of the Orkney Economic Recovery Steering Group (ERSG), said:

“We were keen to highlight the potential that the UK Government’s Kickstart scheme offered us as a community give local young people the boost and support they need in this pandemic, while giving financial and training support to employers to step up their own response and recruit staff.

“Early on in the pandemic the ERSG developed a vision called ASPIRE which builds on the premise that to recover from the pandemic, and build a better future, Orkney must aspire to be Ambitious, Sustainable, Prosperous, Inclusive, Resilient and Enterprising. We’re delighted with the way businesses have bought into that vision and demonstrated support for our young people by getting in contact and suggesting work placements they can facilitate.”

Further information – including the online Expression of Interest survey – are available at www.orkney.gov.uk/kickstart

Employers should note there is no guarantee that the Orkney partnership will be accepted as a Gateway Organisation. Also, decisions about individual Kickstart placements are made by the UK Government Department of Work and Pensions.

You can read more about the UK Government’s Kickstart scheme by visiting the gov.uk website 

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