CEIS Ayrshire work closely with every age group that is unemployed, however 16-24 years old was the demographic that was most affected by COVID-19 in terms of accessing the job market . As an age group we already have experience with, we opted to become part of The Kickstart Scheme, where we were successful in becoming an approved Gateway Organisation on the GOV.UK website. As a Gateway Organisation, and through our online platform, TrainMe we were able to provide services and raise awareness of our work further afield than Ayrshire.
CEIS Ayrshire was registered as a delivery partner for the Government funded Kickstart scheme in September 2020. This funding offered 16–24-year-olds in Scotland a 6-month paid work placement and involved us working with employers across diverse sectors and young people to match candidates to the correct job.
Kickstart was sometimes difficult to navigate due to the volume of employers that wanted to take part and the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) systems took time to develop as this was a new scheme with a mass uptake.
Throughout COVID many businesses including CEIS Ayrshire were unable to recruit due to lack of face-to-face appointments and financial restraints. Kickstart was the tool that allowed businesses to look to the future and build on their workforce and start networking again to increase business.
The last Kickstart candidate went into placement on 31st March 2022, meaning the final 6-month Kickstart funding will end in September 2022. Since the start of Kickstart we have been working closely with the DWP (Department for Work & Pensions) to ensure vacancies are advertised and referrals are being made.
How we helped Charly to success
Of course, not every placement worked out as we would have liked, and we had to work with employers and the youth to re-match on occasion. Overall, we are incredibly proud to have filled 143 placements with over 100 local and national businesses. A real highlight for us is seeing so many of the young people gaining skills, building their confidence and in some cases finding their calling, such as Charly who we helped place with TCS-Eco, the UK’s largest manufacturer of premium made bespoke reusable sanitary products.
Founder, Kerry Anne Quinn recently posted about her experience with the Kickstart Programme “This is Charly, Charly came to us through the Kickstart program. After an unsuccessful first job dealing with customers during the pandemic, she felt she would be better suited to working in a small team environment.
In the 8 weeks she has been with us she has exceeded our expectations. We hired her with a view to training on the embroidery machines manufacturing our pads, she had that pretty much licked within the first 3 weeks. She asked if she could have a wee shot of making pants and I said why not, within 3 hours she had made herself her first ever pair of pants. She had never seen an overlocker! Currently she is making about 10 pairs a day from start to finish, as well as working the embroidery room and making sure everything is running smooth. I am also helping but it’s taken a huge strain off of me so I can concentrate on getting the printing side of the business. The embroidery machines generally run for an hour without needing any interaction and we are sharing that job. I am really proud of Charly she has a wise head on young shoulders.
The Kickstart program is amazing because it gives you the opportunity to hire a young person and train them without the expense of wages. What we have achieved with Charly is nothing short of amazing. I caught this picture because I asked, “where should we take the picture?” and she looked up to see the UA tag.”
Our success was recognised by the DWP
We continue to support the young people, employers and DWP with filling more vacancies and delivering training as part of our in-work support and workforce development services. With the ultimate goal of having as many young people kept on in permanent jobs as possible.
As well as our own company values being fulfilled by supporting young people into work placement, our work on the scheme was recently recognised by the DWP as I was presented, at a recent meeting, with a certificate of recognition for hard work, support and CEIS Ayrshire’s participation in the UK Government Kickstart Scheme.
Want to learn more about CEIS Ayrshire and how their employability and business services are helping the people of North Ayrshire (and beyond)? Visit their website.