Our previous blog post explored what it was like to work as a Kickstart employee. This time we were eager to gain insight into the employer’s point of view, and how the Kickstart scheme aided them in their pursuit of employees.
We sat down with Lucy, the Office Manager at The Perch Business Park, to discuss how the Kickstart scheme has been beneficial to her and the company. Here’s what she said:
“As this was our first commercial venture, wejust did not have the budget for a full-time employee and only had one person to cover all of the roles in the office building. Then the Kickstart scheme came about, which meant we were able to develop the business to allow us extra time to be able to eventually pay a full-time wage. Not only were we looking to hire another person, we wanted to help someone find a new challenge, so the Kickstart scheme came at the right time. It felt right to be able to give someone the opportunity to work with us, adapt their job role and progress within the company.
Once we had decided that we wanted to hire, wecontacted the local job centre. It was a difficult process at first, as there were larger corporations who were advertising multiple job opportunities through the Kickstart scheme. However, once we explained the situation, we were able to get our advertisement out.
We were delighted with the number of applicants and were able to select one individual who we thought would suit the role best. Since she has started, she has made some incredible advancements within the company, so we decided to keep her on after her 6-month placement was up. The Kickstart scheme allowed us to keep costs low whilst also being able to give someone a new opportunity. I hope the scheme carries on.”
We also heard from our very own Managing Director Jock Fraser, to see what his experience was like with taking part in the Kickstart scheme.
“Like many businesses, Skills Beyond School’s plans for expansion were put on hold during the height of the pandemic. During the darkest days of the lockdowns, thoughts of expansion were far from our minds as all focus was on contingencies and simply staying afloat. So, as there was no business development taking place it created two problems, we hadn’t expanded as we’d planned, and we had expended much of expansion resources on making it through the lockdowns, which now left us in the Catch 22 situation of needing new income to afford to take on new staff, whilst needing to take on staff to expand and generate new income.
When the Kickstart scheme was announced it seemed like the ideal opportunity to revisit our expansion plans from the year before. The scheme also tied in with Skills Beyond School’s ethos of finding alternative routes to education and employment.
We decided to apply for the Kickstarter scheme direct and not to use a gateway company. Our first application was turned down, but after some very helpful feedback from the Kickstart Team we submitted a second application in which were able to explain better and in more depth what opportunities and support/training we would be able to offer the young people during their time with us. The second application was accepted and we started advertising the roles with the DWP.
Working closely with Banbury job centre we were able to explain to work coaches what roles we had to offer and how we could help those who qualified enter the job market in positions that would previously have required a higher level of work experience. We met with Chris Codd at our local Job Centre who offered us advice on how to target our job ads and who organised a dedicated recruitment day for us at the job centre where we could meet with candidates to discuss our opportunities directly.
So far we have taken on three individuals, the first of whom, after promising start, unfortunately was not able to continue in the role. However the next two candidates that we had starting with us have been excellent. As an employer it’s been refreshing to engage with new starters who are, not only keen to work with us but have thrown themselves into the training and development we have been able to offer, and who can see their relationship with us continuing after the kickstart placement ends.
As an organisation Skills Beyond School has definitely benefited from the Kickstart scheme and hopes that our staff have too. We are currently looking to add a new member of our team via Kickstart due to the success of our last hires.”