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Young people across the West Midlands are set to benefit from thousands of valuable job opportunities to kickstart their careers.

The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) are leading the region in brokering and promoting the Government’s £2bn Kickstart scheme, working with local councils and Chambers of Commerce.

Kickstart funds employers to create six-month paid jobs with local employers for 16- to 24-year olds on Universal Credit who are at risk of long-term unemployment. It enables young people to gain hands-on experience while getting paid, boosting their future job prospects.

Kickstarters Joe Davies (left) and Oliver Hipkiss at the Black Country Living Museum

To make sure young people can see the opportunities available, they have all been placed on the Youth Employment WM website, where more than 6,000 Kickstart jobs in the West Midlands are now live.

The website has been developed by the WMCA and DWP with social enterprise Youth Employment UK, which is dedicated to tackling youth unemployment in the UK. It features a huge range of jobs across the region, including trainee construction workers, beauty therapists, social media assistants, receptionists, gardeners, kitchen assistants, and IT technicians.

The jobs are on https://www.youthemployment.org.uk/kickstart-vacancies/ and young people will be helped to apply by their local Jobcentre work coach.

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “We know that young people have been the hardest hit economically by the pandemic, and Kickstart is a great way to help these unemployed youngsters into work to begin their careers. The scheme also makes good financial sense for businesses, who get to employ talented and eager youngsters with Government covering the cost.

“With more than 6,000 Kickstart vacancies across the region, and the number growing every day, there is something for everyone. I would urge our young people to visit the website now to see the number and range of opportunities available on their doorstep, helping them to get their career off to the best possible start.”

Helene Dearn, Group Director West Midlands – DWP, said: “The Kickstart scheme is a wonderful route for young people who are in receipt of Universal Credit and are looking for work to take part in a six-month paid job placement. We have opportunities with a wide range of employers, sectors and locations and your Jobcentre Work Coach is here to help you apply for the ideal role for you.”

Cllr Ian Brookfield, leader of City of Wolverhampton Council and WMCA portfolio holder for the economy, chairs a WMCA taskforce focused on improving opportunities for young unemployed people.

He said: “Our young people are our future and we must do everything we can to support them as the region’s economy recovers from the impact of the pandemic. It’s great to see there are more than 6,000 high-quality jobs available through Kickstart for young people across the region.”

Joe Davies and Oliver Hipkiss are both working at the Black Country Living Museum as trainee gardeners, through the Kickstart scheme.

Oliver said: “I always did gardening with my grandad, so this job was top of the list. Overall, I think it’s an amazing job because as well as gardening, you join in with the atmosphere of the whole museum. I’d definitely recommend other people to go for jobs through Kickstart.”

Joe said: “I’ve learned lots, from identifying weeds and flowers in each part of the museum area, to different ways of growing plants and using all the equipment. I’ve gained the most knowledge I could ask for, especially learning from the head gardener.”

Sukhi Baden, head of people and culture at the Black Country Living Museum, said: “Ollie and Joe are really good examples of the Kickstart scheme. They are proving to be great ambassadors through their willingness to learn. Having young talent here at the museum, wanting to learn heritage skills, is brilliant.”

Employers that would like to register for Kickstart can visit https://www.wmca.org.uk/kickstart-scheme or contact [email protected] for more information.

Click this link to watch Joe Davies, Oliver Hipkiss and their employer talking about the benefits of Kickstart: https://vimeo.com/579336095/fdff1d82c9

Image caption: Kickstarters Joe Davies (left) and Oliver Hipkiss at the Black Country Living Museum