The Kickstart Scheme, announced in the Government’s Plan for Jobs, provides funding for employers to create new job placements for 16 to 24-year-olds on Universal Credit who are at risk of long-term unemployment. The scheme funds 100% of the National Minimum Wage (or the National Living Wage depending on the age of the participant) for 25 hours per week for a total of 6 months, along with associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions. Further funding is also available for training and support so that young people on the scheme can get a job in the future.
To support recruitment into Kickstart placements offered by Suffolk Libraries, the Department for Work and Pensions (East Anglia District) organised a Sector-Based Work Academy Programme (SWAP). The SWAP has 3 elements: (pre-employment) skills training, a period of work experience, and a guaranteed interview with an employer. The skills training required by Suffolk Libraries was delivered by an independent training provider, Steadfast Training. The SWAP covered employability skills, offered advice on the placement application process, including how to prepare and make the application, and skills and tips for the interview process. A Level 1 Employability & Customer Service qualification was awarded to participants achieving the standard.
One of the successful candidates, Zack Kenny, is now a Suffolk Libraries Service Trainee at the Gainsborough Library in Ipswich.
He says: “When my Work Coach made me aware of the Kickstart Placements that were being offered by Suffolk Libraries, I was very keen as from what I have seen of the Kickstart initiative it offers a great opening for many young adults like myself to get into work either for the first time or getting back into work after losing work due to Covid. Considering my struggle to find a position for so long, despite previous experience, I am amazed at how soon after first getting the contact from my work coach that I was able to secure this position with Suffolk Libraries, and believe the skills and knowledge I gained from the SWAP helped make this possible. I’m really looking forward to my next six months with Suffolk Libraries and gaining new skills and knowledge to help me in the future.”