Young people were particularly badly struck by the pandemic, with 289,000 under-25s being removed from employer payrolls between mid-May 2020 and mid-May 2021. In response, the UK Government stepped in with their Kickstart Scheme, a time-limited scheme which would provide funding for the creation of around 250,000 roles for 16-24-year-olds that are on universal credit. The scheme allows employers of all sizes to apply for funding to cover 100% of the minimum wage, for 25 hours per week, for a total of 6 months.
I’d argue that an opportunity to create a new employment opportunity and obtain financial support for doing so is the clearest metaphor for a “no-brainer” you can conjure. Unfortunately, despite their cries for additional workers during labour shortages, it appears that machine shops have been particularly unaware of the opportunity that lay before them for the past year. In the course of writing this, I found only one open job posting for a machine shop position, which was posted by Sheffield-based Platts & Nisbett, who plans to coach the chosen candidate into a fully qualified Surgical Instrument Maker. As this scheme essentially removes all recruitment risks, it’s a mystery that more machine shops aren’t also snatching at this opportunity in order to help the young starters as well as increase the growth of their businesses.
“There are significant opportunities available for young people in manufacturing to build a highly skilled and valuable career. This is an innovative scheme designed to help both young people and employers and I would urge companies to take advantage of the help that it provides to recruit young talent.”Stephen Phipson, Chief Executive of Make UK, has this to say of Kickstart
It’s understandable that there are employers that are still on the fence in regards to the scheme, as we were also internally undecided about the merits of the programme at first. Despite this, we thankfully decided to give the scheme a shot and ended up employing two fantastic applicants who became full-time and valued fixtures of the FourJaw team just 2 months into their 6-month placements. Most importantly, the scheme has not just been a success for us as an employer; both our Kickstart placements were grateful for the opportunities and have rewarded us with an outstanding level of commitment and quality in their work.
“Having endured the trials and tribulations of trying to enter a new industry, the government’s kickstart scheme has opened a world of possibilities and allowed me to enter an environment where I can challenge myself and my skillset in ways that were previously not accessible to me.
For those of us without a degree or similar formal qualifications, the system has allowed us to showcase our unique skills and has allowed businesses the freedom to select employees based on attributes some may not consider the “norm”.
My overall experience with the scheme has been overwhelmingly positive; working under Dave, our extremely talented Marketing Manager at FourJaw, has already given me the confidence to take on tasks that were previously out of my reach and excel in my position. I believe the scheme is well needed in creating opportunities for the younger workforce to enter into fulfilling job roles and also for employers to find undiscovered talent!”Arun – Digital Marketing Assistant & Kickstart Hire
“I’m delighted that I was able to land a role at FourJaw through the Kickstart scheme. The experience here at FourJaw has been invaluable and I’ve learnt so much, from PCB assembly and embedded systems programming to modern web application development and machine learning.
My time here at FourJaw has been stimulating and really fulfilling. Our CTO Robin is a truly exceptional mentor and has enabled me to undertake and solve demanding technical challenges while always providing the best support. Without the Kickstart scheme none of this would have been possible. I highly recommend that businesses look into the Kickstart scheme to discover a generation of hidden potential.”Sam – Junior Back-End Developer & Kickstart Hire
In summary, we’ve had an amazing experience with Kickstart. Both Sam and Arun have become cornerstone members of the team, and are real assets to FourJaw and the machining businesses we serve. “We’re very grateful to the Kickstart scheme for facilitating these hires; going forwards, we see a bright future as Sam continues to drive both the operational and software development side of the business, and Arun continues to help us achieve our marketing goals,” says FourJaw CTO, Robin Hartley.
Get Started Now
Time is running out on this scheme, as you have only until the 17th December 2021 to register your organisation and all of your vacancies before the registration window closes. After you have successfully registered, you have until March 31st 2022 to fill your Kickstart vacancies.
Though you can apply for the Kickstart programme directly, we recommend manufacturers utilise Make UK as an approved Kickstart Gateway because of their specialised viewpoint on manufacturing. Get started here: https://www.makeuk.org/future-makers/kickstart