Kent Businesses Back Boost For Young People

The Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce (KICC) is set to deliver a countywide Kickstart programme to help get young people into work placements after agreeing to partner with all of Kent’s Further Education Colleges; EKC Group, MidKent and North Kent.  Launched by the Chancellor Rishi Sunak, the Kickstart programme is part of the Government’s three-pronged approach to helping restart the economy.

The Chamber will act as the gateway organisation for businesses to access the Kickstart programme, which is designed for those on Universal Credit, aged between 16 and 24 and who are at risk of slipping into long-term unemployment. The placements will last for six-months, with employers who take on a young person receiving access to Government funding which will cover 100 per-cent salary and associated employments costs (at minimum wage rate), for up to 25 hours per week.  In addition, employers will receive £1,500 for each Kickstart placement for training and support, tailored to give the young person the skills they need to succeed in the workplace.

The sector leading partnership between KICC and the three large College groups in Kent will ensure that employers across the County will be able to access the necessary training and support for those young people embarking on the programme. 

Chief Executive of Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, Jo James, said: “The Kickstart scheme is an excellent opportunity for businesses to make a different to the life of a young person. “Employment opportunities for young people have been disproportionately hit by the pandemic, with over 18,000 young people aged between 18 and 24 across the County on Universal Credit. “This is a way employers can engage and help shape a future workforce, and build a stronger local economy. We are excited about working in partnership with the Colleges as they are experts in the field of skills development and are well placed to give sector-leading training for the young people accessing Kickstart.”

Chief Executive Officer of EKC Group Graham Razey OBE said: “We’re passionate about supporting the communities we serve through the current pandemic, and as part of that we want to ensure that young people don’t get left behind. We’re really excited to be working with the Chamber as part of the Kickstart scheme, and aim to empower all of the young people who access this in East Kent to get the skills they need to find full-time employment.”

Simon Cook, Chief Executive Officer of MidKent College added: “We’re proud to be a longstanding part of the communities of Maidstone and Medway. Through Kickstart we’re delighted that we can support our young people entering into work, and help our local employers harness the potential that will be brought into their businesses. The knowledge and experience that collectively we share, means that Kent’s Colleges are ideally placed to partner with the Chamber in an effective county-wide approach to the scheme.”

David Gleed, Chief Executive of North Kent College also said: “We are delighted to be working with our partner Colleges in Kent and the Chamber of Commerce to provide a joined-up offer serving the whole of the County.  With our campuses stretching from Dartford and Gravesend to Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells and Sevenoaks, together with our award-winning Learning Shop at Bluewater, we look forward to actively participating in this key initiative for local young people.”

The collaboration between the Chamber and Colleges will mean that the whole of Kent and Medway is covered, adding value to employers from Thanet to Dartford and everywhere in between.

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