The Kickstart Scheme was set up at the outset of the pandemic when it was feared that youth unemployment would more than double. Use of intermediaries, or what later became gateways, created an infrastructure of approved hubs across the country to ease engagement of local business and young people for placements both from an administrative and a practical level. Local Authorities and Chambers of Commerce were considered key to this ambition.
Glasgow Chamber of Commerce was quick to respond, using our insights and experience from over five years of delivering the highly successful Scottish Government funded Developing Young Workforce programme, working to build links between industry and education.
Throughout our time working on the Kickstart Scheme, the team were inundated with enquiries from businesses looking to get involved. In total, through the support from Glasgow Chamber, over 260 businesses were supported to create some 900 new Kickstart roles for young people. There was certainly appetite although this was culled as the programme was closed earlier than anticipated. However, 565 young people were funded in a Kickstart work placement and the feedback from employers and young people has been extremely positive.
Straight up, businesses were able to experience a ‘try before you buy’ advantage through the fully subsidised role which helped confidence at a time of great uncertainty. In addition, the scheme offered a grant for each placement to receive intensive support which was tailored for the needs of each role. Glasgow Chamber designed a unique wraparound service with some of our members and city partners offering dedicated packages of support that included mentoring and industry related training which really enhanced the experience of the young people during the course of their time in situ. It added qualifications and certificates to their CV, arguably giving them a better chance of longer term or future employment.
The Chamber organised over 95 different training courses for young people to participate in during their time in a Kickstart role. This combined approach increased the young person’s knowledge in relation to their job role also helping business productivity, with support including employability training delivered by mentors from partner organisations such as Jobs and Business Glasgow and Progressive Pathways. This dedicated support was paramount with over 70% of young people moving onto a positive destination after their Kickstart placement.
The gateway model approach delivered through the Kickstart Scheme is an interesting government concept to scale, at pace, any new programme roll out to tackle pertinent issues. Now that the mechanism has been established let’s learn and build from that. The next problem to solve is net zero business engagement, supporting placements with a similar model to accelerate business change and at scale - particularly to SMEs who will be key to generating solutions including those around digital innovation and circular economy models. Perhaps our governments can consider the benefits of working across the British Chamber of Commerce accredited network learning from the Kickstart scheme model to do just this.
Find out what employers and young people had to say about the Kickstart Scheme.