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Kickstart Scheme Success Stories

08/07/2021 News

The Kickstart Scheme is bridging the employment and skills gap for young people and businesses.

The Kickstart Scheme has been a boost to the morale and productivity of young people and businesses. Open to businesses of all sizes and sectors, the government-funded scheme opens up six-month placements for 16–24 year olds, allowing them to gain valuable work experience, and allowing businesses to receive the support they need in unprecedented times. Employers, young people, and organisations praise the initiative and its benefits. The following are just a few of many York and North Yorkshire success stories that have come out of the Kickstart Scheme.

“We believe the Kickstart Scheme offers a great opportunity to our businesses, opening up new pools of talent to them within a supportive environment.”

Lewis, North Yorkshire County Council

During the past year, finding employment has been more difficult than ever, especially for young people who have had their career journeys halted by the pandemic. Prior to getting involved in the Kickstart Scheme, Lewis had taken on a temporary contract and an estate agency course, but still found it difficult to secure permanent employment. As a Kickstarter, he now works for the North Yorkshire County Council as a Business Administrator, a role that he feels valued and respected in. The role has helped him improve upon his abilities, as he takes on new tasks and responsibilities, rising to the challenges within a positive work environment.

Leigha, Berber Leather LTD

As business gradually picks up, Richmondshire-based Berber Leather LTD highlights how recruiting Kickstart candidates allows for the completion of work that would otherwise fall to the wayside. They took on Leigha as a Sales and Marketing Assistant, and say she has become a reliable employee who can take over for aspects of the business they may not have otherwise had time to focus on. Berber Leather were supported in their Kickstart Scheme application journey by Richmondshire District Council, who are currently supporting 14 businesses across a range of sectors, including: creative and media, technology and digital, healthcare, hospitality and food, retail and sales, and construction and trades. When asked why they wanted to help businesses applying for the Kickstart Scheme, Richmondshire District Council stated: “Through our regular engagement with businesses we understand the difficulties that some of our businesses face in recruiting and retaining employees, and particularly in attracting young people into the workforce. We believe the Kickstart Scheme offers a great opportunity to our businesses, opening up new pools of talent to them within a supportive environment.” In terms of benefits for businesses, they said: “The scheme offers a ‘work trial’ of sorts to businesses, enabling them to get to know the young person, train them in the ways of the business with the end goal of being able to offer long term employment opportunities to them.  Young people can bring immeasurable benefits to a business – fresh ideas and new approaches which can open up new and emerging customer groups.”

Callum, BlueBoxt Productions

The Richmondshire District Council also assisted Wensleydale-based BlueBoxt Productions, an organisation working in the creative and performing arts and mentoring activities. They gained their Kickstarter, Callum, in May of this year and have already seen improvements to their business. “Callum has already completed a scoping report on youth drama provision in the region, identified areas for improvement and presented his ideas to our marketing volunteers,” says BlueBoxt Productions. “The other major piece of work which Callum is completing is creating a new cloud-based workspace... After some initial research, we agreed that this intuitive system of work management will provide us with the flexibility to grow and develop various areas of the organisation, including our HR, marketing, customer and project management functions.” As to why BlueBoxt Productions got involved in the Kickstart Scheme, they highlighted that it’s a perfect opportunity for businesses who want to take the next step in terms of growth, but are wary of the possible risks. “We identified ways we could do more to help young people become involved in the day-to-day running and decision-making, but lacked the resources available to make it possible. The Kickstart Scheme has provided the opportunity to pilot how well this can work for us without having to worry about cash flow.”

Mark, Pullman Instruments (UK) Limited

The Kickstart Scheme’s role as a helping hand for businesses is a sentiment that Pullman Instruments (UK) Limited, a Harrogate-based calibration services market leader, echoes. In April of this year, they recruited Mark as a Junior Assistant in their Accounts department. Prior to the placement, Mark had no experience in accounts, but he has proven to be a valuable member to Pullman Instruments’ small team, helping to relieve pressure in the day-to-day running of the ever-evolving company. Pullman Instruments have glowing praise for Mark, and for the Kickstart Scheme as a whole. The structure of the initiative makes it an excellent opportunity for growth and learning. They say the flexibility that a six-month placement allows is a benefit for businesses and young people, helping both during times of need. Mark too is thankful for the opportunity the scheme has provided him. Already, he has a clearer picture of what his next steps will be. “Throughout my time here, I have been taught a variety of skills,” says Mark, reflecting on the daily tasks he has been involved with, such as communicating with customers, preparing and filing paperwork, and teamwork and time management. “These tasks have been well taught within a friendly environment making it an enjoyable experience, alongside making me want to pursue Accounting further.”  

“We’ve had a pretty tough year and this was a real help to us.”

Tom, White Rose Finance

Success stories among young people recruited through the Kickstart Scheme continue to be a trend. White Rose Finance, a Selby-based commercial finance broker, took on their placement, Tom, in April of this year and have been very impressed – so much so, they awarded him Employee of the Month. In a blog post, Tom wrote, “In my first two months working for White Rose Finance, I have picked up many new skills and developed my understanding of the Business and the various departments within. I have had great support from my colleagues who have pushed me when required and helped develop my skills by giving me new responsibilities and tasks.”

Woody’s Ice Cream

York-based Woody’s Ice Cream, who applied for the Kickstart Scheme through gateway organisation North Yorkshire Business Education Partnership (NYBEP), exemplifies the economic benefits of the initiative in the wake of the pandemic. They took on three Kickstarters, all of whom they’re considering future work for beyond their six-month placements. “We’ve had a pretty tough year and this was a real help to us,” says Woody’s, when talking about the benefits of the Kickstart Scheme. They believe there’s been good support, “financially from the government (DWP) and especially from our gateway partner NYBEP who have set everything up for us, persevered on our behalf and now the young people have started we’re really happy with everything.” White Rose Finance, Pullman Instruments (UK) Limited, and Woody’s Ice Cream have all worked with NYBEP. NYBEP are currently working with 37 businesses in the region with over 160 placements, and offer accessible and approachable support and regular contact to those they work with. They also offer employability wrap around support to companies, helping to develop candidates’ employability skills and providing support to both businesses and young people, in turn bringing out the best in both. This support focuses on their next steps through qualified careers, advice and guidance on how to use the skills they have developed for the future. Bridging the financial gap some employers face when recruiting young people is something NYBEP focuses on when talking about the benefits of Kickstart: “The Kickstart Scheme offers financial support to allow employers to be able to offer these valuable opportunities to young people who desperately need them. Without the grants, these employers would not have been able to welcome new staff into their organisations, everyone has had a difficult time.”

James, Period House Store

Support during this tough economic climate was one of the reasons Richmond-based home furniture shop Period House Store decided to get involved with the Kickstart Scheme as well. Whilst the business may not be able to sustain another full time wage currently, the flexibility of the Kickstart Scheme means that doesn’t hold them back from recruiting. They took on Kickstarter James to work on website administration, and wholly recommend Kickstart to other businesses. “We needed extra help and James has fitted in really well, bringing young, fresh ideas,” says Period House Store. The support has been there for James too. “The Kickstarter role has helped me as it has given me experience that I didn't have before in an area of work that is related to a career that I was looking at before,” he says. He’s also had discussions with Period House Store about trying other roles within the company as well, to gain even more experience and gauge what his interests for the future are. The Kickstart Scheme has been invaluable in helping James figure out his next steps.

Whitley and Eggborough Primary School

Next steps are also important for Whitley and Eggborough Primary School, who took on a General Teaching Assistant through the Kickstart Scheme. They wanted to open up more opportunities for young people, and have been impressed with their Kickstarter, who has integrated well into the work environment. When asked about why they got involved with the initiative, they say: “Seeing them gain confidence and be ready for the world of work is very satisfying and something we all love to see. It was for this reason that we looked into taking on a KS employee and I can say that we are not disappointed.”

Katie, Pioneer Projects

Providing opportunities for growth and giving to the community has also been a benefit for Katie, a Trainee Youth Worker recruited by Pioneer Projects through the Kickstart Scheme. A mum of two, Katie applied for the placement in order to give back to the community she grew up in. Pioneer Projects have given her the opportunity to do so, and benefited from Katie’s “younger take” on their approach to working with others. Below is a short video, created by gateway partner Your Consortium, which features Katie and her employer Lynda talking about how the Kickstart Scheme has benefited them, Pioneer Projects, and the wider community. [embed][/embed] In such a time, the next steps we take are more important than ever, making growth and development vital. The Kickstart Scheme presents a brilliant opportunity for businesses and young people to stand up and push ahead into a brighter, stronger future, and many are already reaping the benefits and paving the way.

Want to learn more?

To learn more about the Kickstart Scheme and its benefits, how to apply, and for further resources, be sure to read our article covering the initiative here. Further success stories from employers and young people can be found in our 2021 Annual Report. The Department of Work and Pensions will also be hosting a free online event to talk about how businesses in York and North Yorkshire can benefit from the scheme on Friday 16th July. You can learn more and sign up for the event using the link below: Supporting Employers in York & North Yorkshire with the Kickstart Scheme Tickets, Fri 16 Jul 2021 at 10:00 | Eventbrite
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