Rising unemployment rates prompts appeal for take up of Kickstart Scheme

Wenta service user

The Letchworth Heritage Foundation and Wenta are encouraging Letchworth businesses to sign up to the Kickstart Scheme to help young people back into employment. - Credit: Wenta

A new scheme has been launched which is set to help young people claiming universal credit find work in Letchworth. 

The Heritage Foundation has teamed up with business support social enterprise, Wenta and signed up for the government's Kickstart Scheme.

The Kickstart Scheme provides funding to employers of all sizes to create new six-month job placements for young people who are on universal credit and at risk of long-term unemployment.

It is part of the government's Plan for Jobs and aims to create new, fully funded jobs across England to bounce back from the pandemic.

In December 2020, unemployment figures stood at 12.1 per cent for young people aged 18 to 24 in Letchworth, with youth unemployment in Letchworth Wilbury standing at 16.3 per cent – considerably higher than the average of nine per cent across England in the same month.

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By contrast, in March 2020, just under four per cent of young people were out of work in Letchworth, marginally below the England average at the time.

Due to these statistics, The Heritage Foundation applied to take part in the Kickstart Scheme with a plan to employ eight young people and encourage other local businesses and organisations to also join in.

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Graham Fisher, chief executive of the Foundation said: “On the back of these latest unemployment figures, the foundation is now calling on all local Letchworth employers to sign up to Kickstart and make a collective pledge to every young person in the town to offer Kickstart opportunities.

"Many businesses in the town are facing a really challenging time, but it is essential we try to find ways to support young people back into employment as quickly as we can.

“It is fantastic to be working with Wenta to employ people who have been out of work for more than six months and could be helped with diverse experience on their CVs.”

In order to access the scheme, The Heritage Foundation sought help from Wenta, which has helped them to simplify and navigate the application process. They are now looking to fill the vacant roles they have created over the next few months.

Job placements must be a new role for the business and the DWP funding covers 100 per cent of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week as well as National Insurance and minimum automatic enrolment contributions.

Kickstart Lead at Wenta, Parvena Begum, said: “We’re really pleased to have partnered with Heritage Foundation so they can now provide further jobs to the young and unemployed.

"We initially chose to become a gateway provider of the scheme in order to enable small business owners across Hertfordshire with less than 30 placements to access it.

"However, since becoming a gateway we’ve also been helping hundreds of employers navigate the application process too. Through our 37 years of experience in supporting businesses, we know time is limited for employers to investigate and dedicate to these schemes. We’re here to make the process easier and simpler for all employers."

If you are a business that is interested in learning more about the Kickstart Scheme, visit https://wenta.co.uk/business-advice/kickstart-scheme/

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