There are some impressive young people out there who have found Covid has stopped their career ambitions dead. At a similar stage in my life, it was the kindness of both strangers and family contacts that enabled me to get started and I have never forgotten all that they did for me.
Today I am an employer myself, and when the government announced the Kickstart placement scheme, we immediately sought to offer placements. Six months later, the scheme is in full swing and the quality of some of the candidates we are offered is outstanding.
We have recently interviewed two graduates: one with a BA Honours 2.1 in Graphic Communication [you’re hired!] and a second with a 1st class Honours BSC in Computer Games Development [in process]. What is more, the Government is not only paying all of the employment costs but also providing a £1,500 grant for the employability support we are offering.
We are encouraging our placements to take the opportunity to use their LinkedIn profile to journal the skills, knowledge and experience they are developing by making posts, capturing video and collating samples of their work.
Clearly, these placements will not work well for the employer or for the candidate if there is no meaningful or useful work to be done that creates value for the employer and develops the candidate. The London Councils have come together to provide a guide on what makes a good Kickstart placement (see www.londoncouncils.gov.uk/what-makes-a-good-kickstart-placement).
Key points from the guide are: ‘on-going support and mentoring should be provided … over the course of the placement’,‘a Kickstart placement should prepare participants for the world of work … to progress into employment’, ‘performance reviews should be conducted on a weekly basis at the beginning of the placement’, ‘support should also involve careers advice and help with setting career goals’, and ‘discuss options for the participant with their Jobcentre Plus Work Coach’.
In the late 1980s the government launched the Youth Training Scheme (YTS) which again provided young people with work experience placements. The YTS became widely discredited because there was no obligation on the employer to provide any employability training, job search or career support. Critics saw it as a cynical move to reduce the youth unemployment statistics.
Let’s make Kickstart successful for us all.
Making the most of the future you will love, with a Kickstart to your career.