Last week I visited Redruth Job Centre to meet with the team there and get an update about their progress in helping Redruth to recover from the Covid-19 Pandemic. It was great to hear about their recent work expanding their operations to take on the rest of the building in Redruth. This expansion will allow the team to now run digital support for people across the country, not just in Cornwall and it ensures that the office space will be fully occupied again.
The local jobcentre has also been doing some excellent work locally through the Kickstart programme to help young people get back into work. Kickstart is a government-backed, £2 billion scheme that aims to help young people by supporting those at risk of long-term unemployment into paid, six-month work placements. We know that for young people a lack of actual work experience can be a barrier to getting a foot on the jobs ladder and there is no substitute to trialling work to help them gain confidence. Work helps young people gain experience, build skills, and boost their career prospects. The scheme has already helped over 100,000 young people nationally to get back into work.
The Kickstart Scheme has been open to employers of all sizes to create new roles for young people. Representative organisations, local charities and other groups can also act as intermediaries to help smaller employers apply for the Kickstart Scheme. Employers need to show that the Kickstart role is an additional job that will provide the experience and support a young person needs to improve their chances of permanent employment. Although it was a temporary intervention as part of a package of Covid measures and will shortly draw to a close, it has been a success locally.
Throughout the Pandemic, young people, in particular, have been affected by the lockdown restrictions since the start of the pandemic. The decision to close schools earlier this year did not just have the obvious effects around disruption to exams and teaching, it was much more profound than that. Many young people, including those 16-18 suffered from the isolation and loneliness of the lockdowns. In many cases, this has often left them struggling to find work, with countless feelings left behind.
While visiting the Redruth Job Centre, the staff told me about several of the many Kickstart Scheme success stories they have had recently. One that struck me, in particular, was the 19-year-old young man who was disabled and had been out of work for several months, however, the team had managed to get him a job placement as a teaching assistant in a local school.