Thousands of young people in Peterborough targeted for government’s new Kick Start work scheme

Thousands of young people in Peterborough could benefit from the government’s new £2 billion Kickstart fund to help them into work, figures suggest.

The newly launched Kickstart scheme, is aimed at people aged 16-24 who are at risk of being “left behind” in a labour market hit hard by the Covid-19 crisis.

It will subsidise six-month work placements for Universal Credit claimants in the age group who are out of work and facing long-term unemployment.

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Department for Work and Pensions data shows there were 2,545 people aged 16-24 who were unemployed and on Universal Credit in Peterborough at the most recent count on June 11.

They were among 51,000 young people out of work and claiming the benefit across the East of England, and 628,000 across Britain as a whole.

The state will pay employers £1,500 to set up support and training for someone on a placement, as well as covering the National Minimum Wage, which ranges from £4.55 an hour for 16-year-olds up to £8.20 for those aged 21-24.

It will also pay National Insurance and pension contributions for 25 hours a week.

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In Peterborough, there were more 21-years-olds (418) on Universal Credit in June than any other year group eligible for the work placements.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “This isn’t just about kickstarting our country’s economy – it is an opportunity to kickstart the careers of thousands of young people who could otherwise be left behind as a result of the pandemic.

“The scheme will open the door to a brighter future for a new generation and ensure the UK bounces back stronger as a country.”

Kickstart, which will be delivered by the DWP, will initially be open until December 2021.

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Major employers including Tesco have signed up to offer jobs through the initiative, the Government said.

Shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds said Labour has “repeatedly called for a youth employment scheme that matches the scale of today’s jobs crisis”.

But she said the Kickstart scheme had been delayed and lacks cross-organisational coordination.

She added: “It will only work if employers and jobseekers have clarity and confidence that the scheme will lead to meaningful work. The Government can’t afford to get this wrong.”

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Therese Coffey, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, urged businesses to get involved in the programme.

She said: “Young people taking part will receive on-the-job training, skills development and mentoring, as we get them on that first rung of the jobs ladder and on their way to successful careers.”

Details of how businesses can get involved can be found here:

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