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Smaller firms can still help Kickstart careers

Small businesses in Cumbria are being reminded that they too can participate in the Government’s £2bn Kickstart scheme, aimed at creating hundreds of thousands of new, fully subsidised job placements for young people across the country.

The Business and Economic Response and Recovery Group (BERRG) of the Local Resilience Forum has discovered that a number of smaller firms believe they are excluded from the programme because they’re unable to offer a minimum of 30 job placements.

However, BERRG is keen to point out that there is still a route for smaller firms to participate by teaming up with other similar sized businesses and applying through an intermediary, known as a Kickstart gateway.

In Cumbria, a number of organisations offer this facility. Information is provided on the Government’s website via the following link:

Jo Lappin, Chair of BERRG, which is responsible for developing the county’s business and economic response to COVID-19, said: “We’re conducting regular health checks on the state of the Cumbrian economy as it continues to combat the effects of the Coronavirus outbreak.

“Recent results from our ongoing survey suggest that a number of businesses who would like to take part in the scheme and offer employment opportunities to eligible youngsters feel they’re excluded because they can’t offer at least 30 job placements.”

Mrs Lappin, Chief Executive of the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (CLEP), added: “However, it’s important to stress that the figure of 30 is not a minimum requirement. It’s simply a trigger point at which individual businesses can apply directly to Government to access the scheme.

“Any businesses that have fewer than 30 placements available are still encouraged to apply but need to do so alongside other smaller organisations through a central intermediary body.”

Under the Kickstart Scheme, six month job placements are open to those aged 16-24 who are claiming Universal Credit and at risk of long term unemployment. They are available across a range of different sectors.

There will also be further funding to support young people to build their experience and help them move into sustained employment after they have completed their Kickstart funded job.

Employers will receive funding for 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum auto-enrolment pension contributions.

Employers can spread the start date of the job placements up until the end of December 2021 and the following link provides helpful eligibility guidance highlighting the key elements of a successful bid.

You are more likely to be approved if you:

  • have existed for a while;
  • regularly and recently submitted accounts;
  • have a credit score which is a low risk category;
  • have a low probability of imminent business failure;
  • have enough liquid assets to pay your debts;
  • do not have any recent county court judgments (CCJs).

Mrs Lappin said: “Cumbria LEP has worked closely with partners to secure a range of assistance including support for Apprenticeships, Traineeships, work experience, careers education and skills support for people facing redundancy and unemployment.

“Our young people are amongst Cumbria’s greatest assets and we all need to do everything we can to ensure we protect their future career prospects as effectively as we can.”

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