Angela De Souza, founder of the Women’s Business Club, explains how the Government’s Kickstart scheme is proving to be a huge hit with her organisation.
Nowadays, young people are marginalised more than any other sector of society. Confidence levels are dropping, while mental health issues are on the rise. More than half a million young people, aged between 16 and 24, were unemployed in the UK in the spring of this year. Yet this is our future workforce, and what are we doing to invest in them?
Kickstart is one solution put in place by the Government, as part of their overall Plan for Jobs. Employers can now receive funding to create six-month job placements. The scheme is aimed at 16 to 24-year olds who are currently on Universal Credit, and at risk of long-term unemployment. This group will be able to access a six-month paid placement for a minimum of 25 hours a week.
Glasgow Women’s Business Club is one organisation which has swung into action already by making 20 places available on the Kickstart scheme. Sarah Eddie, from the organisation, has admitted everyone involved has found this collaboration rewarding. She told me: I love working with young people on this Kickstart scheme. It’s been a wonderful experience for us and them.
Karla was one of those to benefit from this scheme, taking on the role of social media assistant. She’d previously worked as a cleaner and had done various bar jobs. This is what she said about her experience: The Women’s Business Club has been a great opportunity for me. I’ve learned new things and gathered new experiences. It has definitely been a big step for me but only in the right direction.
The staff and people I’ve worked with have been lovely and welcoming. In just one month I have improved my time management skills, have gained knowledge in using social media, with Facebook and LinkedIn, and most importantly improved my communication skills.
What Karla failed to mention is that she has discovered her previously latent leadership skills. Within the first six weeks of being on the Kickstart scheme she was promoted to team leader.
She now helps all new Kickstart recruits, providing support as well as chasing up those who might be ‘slacking a little’. In addition to learning about the power of social media, she is already grappling with management techniques and is proving to be an incredible asset to the company.
And Sarah Eddie was suitably impressed by Karla, telling me: I have been blown away by how well Karla is doing and how quickly she has progressed. We are already exploring her best career path, and will offer her an apprenticeship when the Kickstart scheme ends.
Another success story is that of Julia, who has also worked in cleaning, as well as retail. She also began in a social media role and these are her comments: It has been a good experience to work with such a friendly team and alongside others in the Kickstart crew. I have had nothing but encouragement from the team and I am now more motivated than ever. The Kickstart scheme has made me more confident and made me feel I can do things I never thought I could. This is a great opportunity.
Throughout this initiative we, at the Women’s Business Club, have all witnessed how important the Kickstart scheme has been for out of work youngsters although, sadly, not every story has been a success. There is so much untapped potential to uncover and our future workforce has certainly a lot more talent than many believed to be the case. There are many young people out there waiting and searching for an opportunity to discover their true genius.