Camden supports young people into careers with Kickstart

Since the introduction of the Kickstart scheme in Camden in 2020, 58 job opportunities have been created for residents within the Council, 11 of which were filled by care leavers.

The national scheme aimed to create high-quality, six-month paid work experience placements for young people struggling to get a foothold in London's hard-pressed job market. Kickstart provided young people aged 16 to 24 in receipt of Universal Credit and who are at risk of long-term unemployment with paid work placement opportunities.

Camden Council decided to provide extra funding to enhance the basic DWP offer to residents by topping up wages to the London Living Wage and increasing contracts to 36 hours per week for those who wanted them, instead of the standard 25 hours.

Each Kickstarter also received a tailored training plan including employability workshops, a learning mentor and support to progress into a job or apprenticeship where possible.

Councillor Danny Beales, Cabinet Member for New Homes, Jobs and Community Investment, attended a celebration event for former and current Kickstarters last month, to thank participants for their contribution which has made the scheme such a success.

Councillor Danny Beales, Cabinet Member for New Homes, Jobs and Community Investment

It was a pleasure speaking to some of our Kickstarters and hearing about the valuable skills and experience they have gained, which will help them flourish in their new roles. They're a real credit it Camden, bringing energy, enthusiasm and passion to their work. 

Young people have been hit hard by the pandemic, and the Council is committed to doing everything it can to support young people into good, well-paid and secure employment. This has included offering an enhanced offer in the borough and encouraging other businesses to do the same. We are developing a comprehensive youth employment and skills offer to build on this programme, including a renewed focus on increasing apprenticeships.

Councillor Danny Beales, Cabinet Member for New Homes, Jobs and Community Investment

Out of the first 32 Kickstarters to join the scheme, half progressed into employment, eight had their contracts extended and two went onto university.

In the second group of 26 Kickstarters, eleven have already secured a job, an apprenticeship or extended their contracts, with the rest preparing for their next steps with support from the Council’s Kickstart team as their contracts end later this summer.

Two of Camden’s former Kickstarters have shared experiences of their placements:

Mahieda Sarkar, former Kickstart HR Assistant in Camden Council said: “Being a Kickstarter in Camden helped me improve my confidence when it comes to meeting new people and communicating. I was able to work on my self-doubt and realised I should start believing in myself more. I learnt a range of skills from IT, to dealing with staff queries effectively and being involved in focus groups, in order to create plans to improve the wellbeing of staff members in Camden.

“When my placement was almost coming to an end, I knew it was time to start applying for new jobs. The first job I applied for, I got! I can truly say the experience I had from being a Kickstarter allowed me to find permanent employment. During the interview stage, I finally had real-life examples I could use to answer the questions confidently.”

Michela Borzoni, former Kickstart Environment Data Officer in Camden Council said: “I have had the opportunity to develop a plethora of key skills that will undoubtedly carry me into my future role as a Climate Risk Analyst at American International Group (AIG). More specifically, working on the Camden Climate Change Alliance has allowed me to deliver my first carbon footprint report, contribute to a communications strategy and engage Camden businesses on the Camden Climate Pledge”

If you’re a local business, have you considered hiring an apprentice?

Although the funded Kickstart scheme has now ended, you can still introduce fresh, local talent by recruiting an apprentice. This is a great way to tackle skills gaps and grow your own pipeline of talent.

Camden Apprenticeships provides a free recruitment service that makes the process simple, so you can focus on the important task of training your new employee.

To learn more about how your business can take on an apprentice, email [email protected]