A training firm has secured £2.2m worth of new contracts to help create potentially hundreds of new jobs under the Government’s Kickstart scheme.
Stoke-on-Trent-based Acacia Training has already assisted with the creation of more than 250 work placements across a range of sectors – including construction, marketing and sales and hospitality – in 2021.
Now the Trentham company is ready to work with employers, the DWP and Job Centre Plus to help them create potentially hundreds of new work placements as part of the Government programme.
Under the Kickstart scheme, employers can apply for funding to create six-month job placements, for up to 25 hours a week, for young people – aged between 16 and 24 – who are unemployed who are at risk of unemployment.
The funding will cover 100% of the costs of a new employee, including a person’s salary at national minimum wage as well as national insurance and pension contributions.
The aim of the scheme is to help get young people onto the career ladder.
Clare Hancock, employability manager at Acacia Training, said: “We are very proud to be able to play a role in restimulating the economy, creating jobs, and ensuring that young people are not disadvantaged by the impact of the pandemic. It is equally important to support employers with job creation and recruitment, as well as reducing the risk of long-term unemployment for 16 to 24-year-olds after Covid-19.
“We’ve seen a really positive response from employers – this support can’t come fast enough for them and there has been a big uptake. Companies are seeing this as a real win-win situation. They can access vital funding towards the cost of recruiting and employing new people, and they are also doing something to steer young people into jobs and careers.”
As well as acting as an intermediary for businesses and the DWP, Acacia will also provide ‘wraparound’ training packages to support new recruits to develop key skills including communication, team work and health and safety.
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Clare added: “Ideally, once the six-month placement has been completed, the young person would then secure a permanent position and potentially progress on to further education programmes such as an apprenticeship.
“It is hard to put an exact figure on job creation as a direct result of the Kickstart programme given the diverse range of options open to those involved once their placement has concluded.
“What it is important to remember is that this scheme delivers employment opportunities that might not be open to the individual otherwise. We currently anticipate that at least 400 such jobs opportunities exist as a consequence of those placements already approved and those currently going through the approval process and would expect this number to increase.”
In addition to the Kickstart scheme, Acacia has also secured funding for traineeships – a programme which was given a significant boost in the Spring Budget when Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced plans to create a further 40,000 traineeships in England.