Friday, 30 July 2021 07:33

Scheme helps to kick-start road to a career for Wiltshire youngsters Featured

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A NEW scheme in Wiltshire is helping scores of youngsters to find job placements that could be a stepping stone to a new career.

The Government's Kickstart Scheme helps small and medium-sized firms by providing funding to create job placements for 16 to 24 year olds.

They are able to obtain funding to pay the National Minimum Wage for 25 hours for a total of six months.

Firms also get help with employer NI contributions, minimum automatic enrolment contributions and training costs.

Denise O'Leary, of Purpol Marketing in Chippenham, which launched the scheme locally, created 50 vacancies and has just taken on its second cohort.

Mrs O'Leary said: "We received 190 CVs for 50 vacancies back in November last year and then went straight into lockdown for six months.

"But of those first 50, 30 have found jobs, which is phenomenal and last week we reached the 100 milestone by creating another 50 vacancies and are now on-boarding the youngsters."

Former Abbeyfield School pupil Jaz Barrington, 19, told a KickStart Scheme event at Neeld Community & Arts Centre on Friday that she applied for a vacancy with entrepreneur Alison Edgar after realising sixth form study was not for her.

"I was convinced that I would go to sixth form and university. It turns out it didn't end up that way. When I started sixth form, I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would."

She dropped out of school and applied for a KickStart place and now handles social media for Alison Edgar, a change-making specialist.

Miss Barrington, of Allington Way, Chippenham, has just been taken on as a digital marketing apprentice.

Employment Minister Mims Davies, who attended the event with local MP Michelle Donelan, said they had created over 260,000 approved roles, with 50,000 people in roles this week.

Miss Donelan said: “I hope that today will encourage many more businesses within our Chippenham constituency and within Wiltshire to take part in this scheme and give young people these vitally important opportunities.”

The KickStart Scheme has created 400-plus vacancies with around 200 Wiltshire employers. In the Chippenham area alone, there are around 133 live vacancies with 38 local employers.

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