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Somerset Chamber's Kickstart support flagged to Minister Mims Davies

Somerset Chamber’s Membership and Policy Manager, Jenn Chidley-Sanders, met Employment Minister Mims Davies MP, in Taunton, on Thursday to highlight the work the Chamber has been doing as an official gateway for the Government’s Kickstart Scheme.

The scheme is overseen by the Department for Works and Pensions (DWP) and Ms Davies was in Taunton to launch a new Job Help Government website and to meet businesses who had benefited from the Kickstart Scheme.

Kickstart helps companies cover the cost of employing a 16 to 24-year-old for six months, with no cost to the business, for 25 hours a week. The Government pays 100% of the National Minimum Wage for those 25 hours, plus National Insurance and pension contributions. Employers are able to increase the hours worked each week, but at their own cost. Employers also receive a £1,500 set-up grant for the placement to cover the cost of training, equipment or even travel.

Jenn was able to speak about the benefits of the scheme and introduce Somerset Chamber’s own Kickstarter, Hayley Nicholson. Hayley (picured below) was interviewed by the DWP about her experiences of the scheme.

Ms Davies also met businesses supported through the application process for a Kickstarter by Somerset Chamber, including Braunability, Rexquote, Gardner Creative and The Emporium, Yeovil, as well as several of the Kickstarters themselves.

She said: “We are coming to the tail end of furlough, and we are re-opening the economy, and it was really important to make sure we got that sense of renewal, optimism and opportunity out there through this new Job Help website.

“Summer is a perfect time to get into people’s consciousness, as they are thinking about the next stage, maybe of summer hospitality jobs or indeed going back to work after furlough, so that’s why we came up with this campaign this summer.

“There’s more than 150,000 jobs live across the DWP for young people to be showcased to and learn about, and that will really make sure we don’t have that pandemic generation, and we are removing those barriers of those people getting into work.”

She added: “It has been brilliant to meet the Kickstarters and it is so brilliant to be close to the smell of popcorn and pick-a-mix – we have missed many things in lockdown and the cinema has certainly been one of them.”

Interviewed by the Somerset County Gazette, Jenn said: “When we heard about the Kickstart scheme, it seemed the perfect opportunity for businesses to support young individuals.

“It has not been without its challenges, but, overall, it has been exceptional. We have had 480 roles approved and we have had 170 young starters in businesses, which has been absolutely wonderful to see.”

More information about accessing the Kickstart Scheme via Somerset Chamber is available here: bit.ly/3k4KCRK

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