Kingston Council calls on local businesses to support young people into employment

Kingston Council is working with local businesses, organisations and the voluntary sector, to ensure new new Government-funded employment scheme fully supports our borough’s young people.

The new Kickstart scheme is a £2 billion fund to create hundreds of thousands of new high quality 6-month paid jobs, aimed at those aged 16-24 who are in receipt of Universal Credit and are deemed to be at risk of long-term unemployment. Employers are encouraged to consider offering a new 6-month fully-funded role to support young people and at the same time boost their businesses’ capacity.  

Kingston Council has committed to 10 placements across council services. Having recently marked one year as a London Living Wage employer, those on council placements will be paid a London Living Wage as well.

Cllr John Sweeney, Portfolio Holder for Business and Leisure at Kingston Council, said:

“We are concerned about the impact of the pandemic on our young people both for now and their employment prospects for the future. 

“According to the council’s recent COVID-19 impact survey, completed by almost 900 residents, more than half said they were concerned about employment opportunities. There are 1,080 young people under 24 claiming out of work benefits in our borough, and the level of young people claiming Universal Credit nationally has doubled in the last six months.

“That's why we urge all organisations in the borough to think about joining in Kickstart, by visiting the Kickstart homepage. The response in Kingston has been fantastic so far, with 150 new jobs emerging in the borough. We hope that the scheme will prove a catalyst to revitalize employability and support young people in the borough, offering new meaningful local placements and development opportunities.”

Forbes Low, Chief Executive at Kingston Chamber of Commerce, said:

“Kingston Chamber of Commerce are delighted to be a Gateway for the Government Kickstart scheme. This initiative will provide employers an excellent boost for business growth, combined with the opportunity to invest in young people, providing them with work knowledge early in their careers. The Chamber has received a diverse and varied range of new job opportunities, which offer broad skill sets, to give a helping hand to many struggling amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Kathryn Elliott, Head of Business Development at Kingston College, said:

"Kingston College as part of South Thames Colleges Group, is delighted to be part of the Kickstart scheme. We are a Gateway organisation to help employers apply for the scheme and we are also offering employability, personal development and occupational training for the young people involved. We are here to help employers fill skills gaps and also to help young people to gain the skills they need to secure long term employment."

The Kickstart Scheme is one of a number of initiatives Kingston Council is currently undertaking to boost to protect the economic sectors that contribute to the borough's economic productivity, and mitigate high rates of unemployment. We have recently launched Kingston Work Match, a free programme to help unemployed residents in Kingston secure new jobs, apprenticeships and training roles, by providing them with necessary skills and support, and engaging businesses and employers across the borough. In addition, Kingston residents who are in receipt of benefit and have been unemployed for at least 13 weeks, will be able to work with a specialist Employment Adviser to develop a personal Action Plan and access training on key employment skills through Job Entry Targeted Support (JETS) scheme.

Read more on our website.

Published: 30th November 2020