22 people have secured apprenticeships at the Canal & River Trust after benefiting from the landmark Kickstart scheme to create job opportunities for 16-24-year olds.
The West Midlands Combined Authority is leading the region in promoting the Kickstart scheme, working in partnership with local councils and Chambers of Commerce to help young people in the UK who are struggling to find long-term and suitable work.
The Trust took on over 60 kickstarters in 2021 and is now celebrating 22 of those successfully moving on to a full-time apprenticeship with the charity.
New apprentice James Harrison, 21, with Kelly Hemus, early careers specialist at the Canal & River Trust.
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the WMCA, said: “We know that young people have been hardest hit by lockdown, and therefore helping to get them into regular work is an important goal for us.
“Hearing positive stories of those who have signed up to the Kickstart scheme go onto full time apprenticeships is a testament to the hard work that local businesses and young people do to help us achieve this goal.
“I would urge our young people search online 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.”
Kickstart funds employers to create six-month paid jobs for 16- to 24-year olds on Universal Credit who are at risk of long-term unemployment. It also enables young people to gain hands-on experience while getting paid, boosting their future job prospects.
Kelly Hemus, early careers specialist at the Canal & River Trust, said: “Early careers are really important to us here at the Trust, and many of our older colleagues are keen to pass on their skills and knowledge to the future generation.
“When the kickstart scheme came about, it was a real opportunity to showcase to a new group of youngsters what the Canal & River Trust is all about and gave them the opportunity to see if the work was something they wanted to commit to before signing up to a full-time apprenticeship.
“The scheme has also allowed us to rethink the way we bring in future apprentices as it gives us time to work alongside them and see if the enjoy the tasks that we set them.”
James Harrison, 21, from Walsall, was one of the individuals who were successful in obtaining an apprenticeship with the Canal & River Trust.
Speaking on his experience, he said: “Whilst working here, I’m tasked with ensuring the canal paths are safe for the public including cutting down vegetation and overgrown hedges that may cause blockage for pedestrians and cyclists.
“If you’re considering becoming a kickstarter or apprentice at the Canal & River Trust, I highly recommend reaching out to find out what they have on offer for you as there’s a great team and you’ll learn a lot of new skills.”
Kickstart roles can be found at https://www.youthemployment.org.uk/kickstart-vacancies/ and young people will be helped to apply by their local Jobcentre work coach.
To find out more about volunteering, apprenticeships and other opportunities to work with the Canal & River Trust, visit https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/volunteer/ways-to-volunteer.