EKC Group – which runs sites including Broadstairs College – is one of three education providers to partner with the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce (KICC) to deliver a countywide Kickstart programme to help get young people into work placements.
The Chamber will act as the gateway organisation for businesses to access the Kickstart programme, which is designed for those on Universal Credit, aged between 16 and 24 and who are at risk of slipping into long-term unemployment.
The placements will last for six-months, with employers who take on a young person receiving access to Government funding which will cover 100 per-cent salary and associated employments costs (at minimum wage rate), for up to 25 hours per week. Employers will also receive £1,500 for each Kickstart placement for training and support, tailored to give the young person the skills they need to succeed in the workplace.
The partnership, which also includes MidKent and North Kent colleges, aims to ensure that employers across the county will be able to access the training and support for young people on the programme.
Youth unemployment across Kent for those aged 18-24 stands at 10.2%, above the national average of 9.4%.
According to data for September Thanet has the highest rate of youth unemployment in the south east at 17.5% – equating to 1,745 young people. The isle also has the highest overall unemployment rates in the county at 10.7% – equating to 8,660 people of working age.
This is a rise of 101% on September 2019, with 4,365 more people claiming out of work benefits.
Chief Executive Officer of EKC Group Graham Razey OBE said: “We’re passionate about supporting the communities we serve through the current pandemic, and as part of that we want to ensure that young people don’t get left behind. We’re really excited to be working with the Chamber as part of the Kickstart scheme, and aim to empower all of the young people who access this in East Kent to get the skills they need to find full-time employment.”
Chief Executive of Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, Jo James, said: “The Kickstart scheme is an excellent opportunity for businesses to make a different to the life of a young person.
“Employment opportunities for young people have been disproportionately hit by the pandemic, with over 18,000 young people aged between 18 and 24 across the county on Universal Credit.
“This is a way employers can engage and help shape a future workforce, and build a stronger local economy. We are excited about working in partnership with the colleges as they are experts in the field of skills development and are well placed to give sector-leading training for the young people accessing Kickstart.”
Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced plans for the Kickstart scheme in July, saying: “Over 700,000 people are leaving education this year. Many more are just starting out in their careers. Coronavirus has hit them hard – under 25s are two and a half times as likely to work in a sector that has been closed. We cannot lose this generation.”
Find out more about the Kent scheme at www.kickstartkent.co.uk