A scheme which gives young people their first step on the employment ladder is celebrating more than 100 recruits.
The Kickstart scheme offers young people aged 16-24 the chance to gain a 6-month placement with employers to build experience and help towards securing permanent employment.
Wigan Council has so far placed 114 young people with 50 local employers, including the authority itself.
Of those placements, 70 per cent of young people have secured further employment or progressed onto an apprenticeship.
All young people on the government-funded scheme have also received support from Wigan and Leigh College.
Coun David Molyneux, leader of the council, said: “Providing all of our young people with the very best opportunities we can is really important to us.
“It’s fantastic that we have managed to support more than 100 young people into these placements, allowing our next generation to get their foot firmly on the career ladder.”
Bimson Power Equipment Ltd, a power product company based in Standish, have had three young people join them on Kickstart placements.
General Manager Gary Povall said: “We always want to give local people opportunities and try to upskill and support staff where we can. Bringing young people through and developing them goes with the ethos of the company so we jumped on the Kickstart scheme when we heard about it.”
Jamie Herbert, aged 20, joined BPE in April 2021 and, after a successful Kickstart placement, progressed onto an apprenticeship as a warehouse operative. He is now a full-time member of staff.
Jamie, from Orrell, said: “The Kickstart scheme has been great for me. I have learnt so much about preparing for work. BPE Holdings are a very supportive company and I have been made to feel a valued member of the team.
“I’ve had training on all the machines needed for warehousing and stock control. I have now progressed to starting an apprenticeship and I am a full-time member of staff. This could never have happened without Kickstart”
Gary said: “A really important thing to us is personality, willingness to work and fitting in with the team. Jamie has done just that and is a really valued member now. We’ve seen him come of out his shell and grow in confidence.
“We want to prepare local people for the world of work, train them up and give them the skills to progress.
“We’re patrons of the Wigan Youth Zone and have experience of supporting young people, through work and sport, and always keep in touch with the council about opportunities available such as Kickstart and apprenticeships. We’re really keen to follow up any more opportunities.”
Kickstart targets young people who are claiming Universal Credit and are at risk of long-term employment.
The council’s work to support local young people with local employers is also underpinned by its community wealth building agenda which aims to tackle economic inequality and create a fairer borough with greater opportunities for all.
And through its new Deal for Business, Wigan Council wants to work in partnership with more local employers who are looking for opportunities to take on local young people or support their staff through apprenticeships.
Coun Molyneux added: “It’s brilliant to hear success stories such as Jamie and Danny, and to see them placed with a local business which really holds the same values as us.
“It’s a key priority to stimulate local economic growth, and boost our local economy wherever we can, through our community wealth building agenda. This scheme is a great example of matching local people to local businesses, something which our whole borough will benefit from.”
To find out about the Kickstart opportunities available for local young people visit Search Kickstart vacancies (wigan.gov.uk)
The Kickstart Scheme is now closed to new applications from employers but if your business would like to discuss the recruitment support on offer from Wigan Council and partners please email [email protected]