"In summer 2020, the UK Government announced the Kickstart Scheme, an employer initiative aiming to place 16 to 24 year olds at risk of long-term unemployment in six-month paid work placements. The funding provided to businesses covers 100% of the National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week. More than 120,000 jobs have been created across a wide variety of industries so far, and I am very fortunate this is the case, as now I am a Kickstarter!
I graduated from my Master of Arts programme in October 2019, and by December the first reports of COVID-19 began to circulate. I was employed as a seasonal sales assistant at the time, looking forward to starting my search for a longer-term position. There was no way of knowing the chaos that coronavirus would cause, not only to the job industry but to every day lives.
The following year was miserable. I went from cautiously optimistic to terrified and I was rejected from positions so often I had lost count. I spent a long time shielding due to living with my grandmother and was frightened that even if I did manage to get a customer-facing role in a supermarket or a shop, I would be putting her at risk. My morale was at an all-time low and things felt hopeless. I turned 24 in December 2020 and thought I had missed the boat and that I was no longer attractive to any business.
Then my work coach at the Job Centre mentioned the Kickstart Scheme. Being on the tail end of the eligible age range I did not hold out much hope, but I attended a virtual meeting to discuss the roles available. The positions at Highfield HR caught my eye. I asked for a referral and I was put forward as a candidate and within the week I got the job!
I am now two months into my placement with Highfield HR, and I am unbelievably grateful for the experience. HR was a closed avenue to me; I don’t think I ever would have considered it, so this opportunity has been invaluable! I am learning on the job, building transferable skills, and earning the National Living Wage. I don’t think I could have landed with a better company!
My wish would be that the Kickstart Scheme will continue to offer lifelines to young people who may feel unseen and unemployable. A broad spectrum of businesses creating roles for us means that we have a better chance of pursuing careers we love. Most importantly, it gives us hope for the future."
- Felicia. Social Media Assistant at Highfield HR
How can you get involved?
If you think your business will benefit from getting involved in the Kickstart Scheme, we can help! At Highfield HR we are a gateway organisation to the Kickstart Scheme, which means we can act on behalf of employers to provide a straightforward application process. Not only do we put together gateway applications and submit them to the DWP, but we can also provide support in the training and development of new starters.
For more information, please email us at [email protected] to receive an information pack!