The Wokingham Paper

New service will connect apprentices with workplaces

A NEW scheme is being launched aimed at helping the borough’s young adults into work.

Run by Activate Learning, the Kickstart scheme is looking to work with employers across Berkshire.

Funded by the Government, the scheme provides employers with access to funds to create new roles for people aged between 16 and 24, who are currently on Universal Credit or at risk of long-term unemployment.

It is part a £2 billion national Covid-19 recovery plan and will see the Government funding 100% of the cost of taking on the new person for a six-month period, at the end of which time it is hoped a new role will be found for them.

Andy Marshall, director for Employability at Activate Learning, which operates Bracknell and Wokingham College, said: “Youth unemployment is a real concern, and the coronavirus pandemic is something that has exacerbated what was already a worrying issue.

“Worrying new data released just last week has shown that as many as one in four young people could be out of work, in what is the highest rate of unemployment for young people in four decades.

“The Kickstart scheme is aimed all types of businesses and all types of roles and is designed to give employers an opportunity to take on young people and give them a chance within roles without any cost to them.”

He said that companies working with Activate Learning would find the process simplified:

“We will take all the hassle away from them and manage the process for them”.

Employers looking to take on new staff under the Kickstart scheme will be expected to provide training and support, and Activate Learning can help.

“As a further education college group, we have a long history of working with the Department for Work and Pensions to provide people with employability training and have a team of specialist coaches in place to support people through this as they come back into work,” Mr Marshall said.

“We will offer a complete wrap-around service for businesses looking to recruit as we see it as our purpose as colleges, within local communities, to support those young people who are out of work back into employment.

“At Activate Learning we see it as our mission to transform lives through learning, and as we go into what will inevitably be a period of economic uncertainty, we want to ensure we are doing all we can for those young people who desperately want to get back into work and the local businesses that want to give them a chance.”

The Kickstart scheme will fund a role with National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus associated employer National Insurance contributions, and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions.

For more visit activate apprenticeships.co.uk or call 01865 551015

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