Local young people and local businesses are set to benefit from Your Homes Newcastle (YHN)’s involvement as a Kickstart Gateway organisation, with several already working in paid positions.
The UK Government’s Kickstart scheme is one of the cornerstones of Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s “Plan for Jobs”, and sees the government paying the salaries of those aged 16-24 who are in receipt of Universal Credit to their employers as they take on six-month work placements.
The Government has encouraged organisations to set themselves up as “gateways” so that they can support smaller companies to take advantage of the scheme by acting as an intermediary to apply for funding, working directly with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) who administer the scheme, handling payroll and other administrative functions, and providing support to the young people recruited.
YHN has a track record of facilitating employment programmes for its customers, so jumped at the chance to support more businesses to take on young people who may be struggling to find work following the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The organisation has recruited ten young people to its in own roles already, with recruits now working in areas such as warehousing, administration and customer services – and one even helping the team responsible for the Kickstart work to recruit even more young people like himself!
In addition, YHN has supported a further five young people into roles with companies working in areas such as barbering, digital marketing and care.
In total, 50 posts will be advertised over the next six months.
The organisation’s work has already impressed the DWP, who are keen to share YHN’s recruitment practices with other Kickstart gateways.
YHN has also set up and chairs a regional network of gateways so that lessons learned and good practice can be shared across the North East.
Jen Vinton, YHN’s customer services director, said: “We know that younger people were disproportionately affected by the economic impacts of the pandemic as many of them worked in the industries hit hardest by successive lockdowns – namely retail and hospitality.
“While we’re all thrilled to see many of these jobs being promoted again, we know it will take some time for the market to fully recover, so we are keen to do as much as we can to help in the meantime.
“We’re one of the few housing organisations in the country acting as Kickstart gateway, and we think we’re uniquely placed to provide a holistic service to both the young recruits and the employers taking them on.
“We’ve successfully ran employability programmes for years and have a fantastic network of contacts within the local business sector, as well as really friendly staff who are well versed in supporting those who may be working in their first paid role.
“So far, we have recruited seven young people into our own roles, and three into roles with businesses in the wider region.
“We’ve another eight vacancies for Kickstart positions at YHN being advertised later this month, and are currently promoting eight for other companies, including roles in marketing, care and customer support, as well as more practical ones.
“Many of our customers claim Universal Credit and this is a fantastic way for us to help them into work, but, more than that, with over 26,000 properties throughout the city we see ourselves as an organisation with an intrinsic role to play in supporting our city’s wider economic recovery.
“We’re extremely proud to have been selected as a Kickstart gateway, which demonstrates the Government’s confidence in our ability to deliver projects of such strategic importance.”
Newcastle City Council’s Cabinet member for Inclusive Economy, and a YHN board member, Cllr Joyce McCarty, said: “I am delighted YHN are playing such an important role in getting young people into employment.
“We know that retail and hospitality have been the hardest by the pandemic meaning many young people have lost their jobs so anything that opens new doors to them has got to be a good thing.
“It’s great to see that some have already started working at YHN and I am sure YHN will be doing everything it can to support local businesses to take on a young person and give them the chance of a career.”
Local businesses who work with YHN as a gateway will receive support throughout the whole recruitment process.
YHN can handle the entire recruitment process, from promoting roles to hosting interviews.
It will organise all funding elements including the young person’s salary and the additional sum provided for each young person as a contribution to training, and will provide ongoing employability support to ensure each young person has a strong chance of staying in paid work once their Kickstart role comes to an end.
Two of the young people YHN has supported into Kickstart roles, Matthew and Jack, are working at the North East branch of FareShare, the charity that aims to reduce food poverty and food waste, which has Marcus Rashford as one of its ambassadors.
Paul Bandeira, who is line managing Matthew and Jack, said: “From the initial process of finding two candidates for the government’s Kickstart scheme, YHN has been an integral part of FareShare North East’s recruitment initiative.
“Supporting the application process through to interview planning has been a great help in finding the right people for our charity.
“We now have two great colleagues in Matthew and Jack working with us who are gaining valuable experience in warehousing and distribution and are a great asset to the team here at FareShare North East.”
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