Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has reached his target of creating 500 new jobs for young people at businesses across the region through the Government’s Kickstart programme – but he is urging more firms to sign up to the scheme to create even more.
The Kickstart scheme is a £2billion fund aimed at creating hundreds of thousands of high-quality six-month work placements to those aged 16 to 24 who are on Universal Credit and are deemed to be at risk of long-term unemployment.
Through the scheme the Government will pay the wage bill of a young person for six months along with employer National Insurance contributions and Mayor Houchen’s team is helping businesses to navigate the red tape and apply.
To date, 501 roles have been set up at 159 Tees Valley companies, with applications still open, and Mayor Houchen is urging more businesses across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool to take advantage of the scheme and create opportunities, with his support, for young people.
Mayor Houchen said: “I’m delighted that we have been able to reach this 500 job target, but that is by no means the end of the work. The scheme is still open and it is a fantastic opportunity to give a job to a young person at this crucial time.
“The coronavirus pandemic has had a unprecedented impact on our businesses, and therefore it has become extremely difficult for young people, who would normally be looking to start out on their path to a successful career, to find work.
“But through this scheme, the government has agreed to pay their wage for the six month placement and we are making it easier for firms to apply, so it is an absolute no brainer for businesses to sign up and take advantage of the brilliant young talent we have in our region, despite the difficulties they currently face.
“Through apprenticeships, the hugely successful Routes to Work scheme, TeesValleyCareers.com and now by helping small businesses access Government’s £2billion Kickstart fund, my plan for jobs is giving everyone across the region, whatever their age or background, help towards a rewarding career right here in Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool.”
Last month, Mayor Houchen expanded the Routes to Work scheme with £1million, allowing it to be fully operational until March 2022 to help people unemployed in the Tees Valley over the age of 16 find work.
The £7.5million scheme, which helps those at risk of long-term unemployment overcome multiple barriers to find work, has engaged with 3,000 people and helped almost 600 unemployed over-30s get back into jobs and on the path to a successful career.
As part of the expansion, the scheme will now be used to support beneficiaries of the Kickstart programme to ensure a positive outcome for the young person at the end of the six-month month job placement.
Organisations based in Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool that wish to take on a young person for six months should register their interest at www.teesvalleybusiness.com/kickstart-tees-valley