More jobs for youngsters in St Albans under government scheme

Businesses are being encouraged to sign up to the government's Kickstart scheme.

Businesses are being encouraged to sign up to the government's Kickstart scheme. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Employers in St Albans are being urged to sign up to the government’s Kickstart Scheme, which offers funding to create job opportunities for 16 to 24-year-olds.

The initiative provides six-month job placements for young people who are on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment.

The council is promoting the scheme as part of the Jobs Forum it has set up with a number of partners to lessen the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Councillor Mandy McNeil, portfolio holder for business, tourism and culture, said: “This is a great chance for local companies and not-for-profits to take on some additional staff at no cost to themselves.

“They would also be giving a break to some of the district’s young people whose lives have been so disrupted by the public health emergency.

“I hope organisations from all sectors of our local economy will take people on so they can gain valuable workplace experience, new skills and training that will set them up for more permanent positions.”

The funding will cover the national minimum wage for a 25-hour working week, employer National Insurance payments and automatic enrolment contributions.

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Extra funding may be available to then support Kickstart workers to move into long-term employment.

St Albans Jobs Forum is a partnership created because of an anticipated rise in unemployment in the wake of COVID-19 which includes representatives from Job Centre Plus, St Albans Chamber of Commerce, Oaklands College, St Albans BID and St Albans Enterprise Agency.

St Albans BID is acting as an intermediary for city centre hospitality and retail businesses.

BID has already applied on behalf of local businesses for funds for 30 Kickstart placements.

The scheme is aimed at small or medium-sized businesses and charities who can each offer up to 30 job placements, and the council hopes to provide Kickstart placements itself.

Mandy, who also chairs the Jobs Forum, said: “It has never been more important for our businesses to be adaptable and flexible.

“This is an opportunity for them to develop their online and social media presence, expand markets or carry out administration work by taking on young people that they could otherwise not afford.

“Creating more opportunities locally will be great for our local spend.”