“It’s a win-win situation for the business and for the trainees”

A new government scheme offers employers funding to create six-month placements for young people who are at risk of long-term unemployment.

Rob Dodds, Apprentice Coordinator at automotive manufacturer Unipres, explains what the process of recruiting Kickstart trainees has been like, and what they bring to the business.

Why did Unipres decide to get involved in the Kickstart Scheme?

The reason we got involved is that it’s an ideal opportunity to give young people a chance to gain valuable experience in the workplace. They’re indispensable to the business as well – it’s another form of recruitment for us and these are the future stars.

Unipres currently employs 35 Kickstart trainees and has plans to recruit five more in the next few weeks. What kinds of roles can the trainees go into, and what opportunities are there for progression?

Through Kickstart we have trainees working in the manufacturing department where they get involved in quality inspection and, from there, hopefully they can progress to different departments in Unipres. The opportunities are there for them and they get reviewed regularly by their team leaders to see if they’re ready to progress.

Or if they don’t stay with Unipres after their six month placement, they will have enough experience to go and begin an apprenticeship. So they have a clear career path either way.

What’s the process of applying to Kickstart been like?

It was my responsibility to put the application in to Kickstart and from the start it has been a clear and easy process.

To be honest when we first started we were a bit worried as we didn’t know who was going to come through the door but the DWP put a lot of work in behind the scenes to get people ready to come in to the workplace and our trainees have been a credit to themselves, they’ve been fantastic.

What would you say to other businesses considering taking part in Kickstart?

Companies get a lot out of it – they get funding towards the placement and it’s another recruitment tool for them. In a way, Kickstart trainees are on a six-month job placement trial and the employer gets to see their progression and see them at work, and both the business and the trainee can make an informed choice at the end of the six months.

And it’s an opportunity to help give people a good chance in life and a chance to work. It’s a win-win situation for the business and for the trainees.

Businesses in the North East can apply to join the Kickstart Scheme through the North East Growth Hub here.