The coronavirus pandemic has had a substantial impact on the UK labour market. The initial impact was a large fall in employment, with a rise in unemployment and inactivity. The percentage of the population (aged 16-25) defined as ‘not in education, employment or training’ (NEET) rose to 14.5% between August and October 2020, with 597,000 people aged 16 to 25 unemployed, up from 11% in the same period in 2019. In response to this, the Government introduced several measures to increase employment figures.
Launched in September 2020, the Kickstart Scheme was a £2 billion funded initiative to create hundreds of thousands of high-quality 6-month work placements for young people who were on universal credit and at risk of long-term unemployment. The scheme provided the perfect opportunity for getting young people paid work experience at a time when job opportunities were few and far between.
The funding available for each job covered the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week. There was also funding available to support young people to develop new skills and to help them to move into sustained employment after they have completed their Kickstart-funded job.
In total, Seddon placed seven young people on Kickstart placements within the company, providing them with the opportunity to gain invaluable experience that they deserved. Two of the seven young people were then employed by Seddon.
Michael Hearn, pictured in the centre of the bottom right photograph alongside Jonathan Seddon, CEO of Seddon Group and Paul Dennett, City of Salford Mayor, is one of the fortunate Seddon Kickstarters.
Before joining the Kickstart scheme, Michael had been looking for a job for two years, whilst working for his father’s business. His condition, Blue Cone Monochromacy means that he is visually impaired and short-sighted. Michael previously attended JobCentre plus to submit a disability form, but it was unsuccessful, which he thinks is due to the nature of his disability.
Michael is a huge advocate for people understanding that every disability is different and feels the main reason he has struggled to get a job is due to the additional measures employers would need to put in place for him. At Seddon, reasonable adjustments have been made, including a laptop that has been modelled on the one Michael uses at home.
Since completing Kickstart, Michael holds a permanent position at Seddon as an Assistant Aftercare Co-ordinator dealing with customer enquiries, subcontractor updates and monitoring outstanding defects. He is enjoying building strong internal relationships and learning from colleagues to further build his confidence. Well done Michael!
Jay Ordish, pictured in the top right photograph, successfully continued onto the Seddon Trainee Site Manager apprenticeship on completion of his Kickstart placement. He’s looking forward to starting his second year of his HNC/HND in September 2023 at the University of Salford. Keep up the good work Jay!