24th October 2021

KickStart scheme boosting career prospects for young people in Somerset

Somerset County Council is helping young people getting into the world of work though the Government’s KickStart programme, and there are more vacancies still available.

The KickStart Programme offers young people aged 16-24 who are claiming Universal Credit the chance to land a six-month work placement, paid at national minimum wage for 25 hours per week.

SCC has partnered with local employers to offer 50 six-month work placements through the programme. The programme launched in March, and there have already been several success stories.

Three KickStart employees have gone on to secure permanent roles in their chosen industries and another three will move onto apprenticeships or permanent contracts with the council at the end of their six-month placements.

Tyler Sheldrake landed a role as a Laboratory Technician through the KickStart scheme and has not looked back since.

“The KickStart placement I have been lucky enough to be a part of has greatly improved the outlook I had on a workplace. Not only has it given me the opportunity to have a job – something I was beginning to think was impossible after so much rejection – but it has given me the opportunity to enjoy what I do and develop my skills too,” Tyler said.

“The reason this scheme is successful, in my opinion, is the fact it gives those who are a little lost in their professional lives the opportunity to be enrolled in placements they would’ve never pictured themselves working and thriving in.”

Film graduate Joe Dolan has been working with Somerset County Council’s ICT Transformation team after landing a placement through the KickStart scheme.

“From day one my placement at the council has been one of the most exciting, insightful, and rewarding periods of my life,” Joe said.

“After a year of uncertainty, my placement has given me the chance to learn and expand both my personal and professional skillset.”

Somerset County Council is significantly above the national average in terms of filling its KickStart vacancies.

However, there are still 14 placement vacancies available with SCC and our maintained schools, with roles including teaching assistant, centre activity instructor, health and safety technician, and business development assistants.

Councillor Mandy Chilcott, Deputy Leader of Somerset County Council, said: “The KickStart Programme is a great way for young people to set themselves up for a bright future and a good career.

“These job placements give participants the opportunity to develop new skills in a professional environment and gain valuable experience. It is good to see so many young people recruited through the KickStart initiative thriving in their new roles.”

Somerset County Council has worked with the Somerset Centre for Integrated Learning to design a training and support plan for participants during the six-month work placements to help them get the most out of the experience.

This includes professional development such as CV writing and interview skills, and mentors who will provide guidance on gaining new skills during the work placement which will aid them in any future employment.

Cllr Chilcott added: “There are still some placement vacancies, so I would encourage anyone who is 16-24 and on Universal Credit to apply for a KickStart work placement by speaking to the work coach at their local job centre.”