The Salvation Army is placing scores of young people in jobs across the church and charity so they can gain valuable work experience as part of the Government’s Kickstart scheme.
In total 85 paid job roles are on offer at the church and charity under the Government-funded initiative for 16-24-year-olds who claim Universal Credit, and are at risk of long-term unemployment.
Roles vary from activity coordinators and donation centre staff to marketing assistants and Lifehouse (hostel) employees. Each person will have a dedicated Salvation Army employability professional assigned to support them in their Kickstart role and to help them prepare for and seek employment at the end of their contract.
Today (10 September), a number of them shared their hopes and dreams with Employment Minister Baroness Deborah Stedman-Scott in a video call.
Department for Work and Pensions Minister, Baroness Stedman-Scott said:
It was wonderful to be back at The Salvation Army talking to some of the young people who have taken advantage of the 85 roles on offer through our Kickstart scheme.
The scheme creates vital jobs to help young people get back on track as we recover – with almost 600 young people starting a Kickstart job each working day over the last month.
Charlie Buckingham, 23, has taken on a Kickstart role with The Salvation Army and took part in the video call with the Baroness.
Charlie became a Community Support Worker at Sheerness Salvation Army on 1 June this year, helping people in need in the community. His role involves working with the food bank, delivering food parcels, organising meetings, as well as supporting the upcoming launch of a new community service run from a bus.
He said: “Just before the pandemic, I started a new job in marketing and development. I did the training and it was going well but then Covid came. I was put on furlough and then they let me go. I was then out of work for a whole year.
“While I was out of work, my work coach at the job centre kept sending me job details and I applied for loads and loads of things. I considered anything, even if it didn’t interest me, as I knew I had to support my family.”
At the start of 2021, Charlie’s work coach sent him details of some Kickstart placements.
He says: “None of them appealed to me but the one with The Salvation Army jumped out at me. It was completely different to anything I had ever done before.
“The best thing about this job is that what I am doing is meaningful. It makes a difference and is helping people in my area. I am not just a number on a bit of paper, I am helping to make my community a better place.”
Also participating in the scheme are 19 Salvation Army donation centres, superstores, and larger charity shops across the UK, operated by our trading arm.
Sarah Trivett, Training and HR Manager at the Salvation Army Trading Company, said:
We are extremely pleased to be working alongside our parent church and charity to support the Kickstart scheme.
Colleagues involved in the scheme are 100% committed to helping all of the young people gain valuable work experience. Alongside the Employment Plus Co-ordinators, they are dedicated to help coach them in employability skills, assisting them in whatever way they can to give them the best possible placement and increase their chances of attaining permanent employment.
With unemployment levels still high following the pandemic and young people bearing the brunt of job losses in the last year1, The Salvation Army is delighted to give as many of them as possible their first step on the career ladder.
Rebecca Keating, The Salvation Army’s Director of Employment Services, said: “The Government has made a commitment to ‘level up’ the country, and initiatives like the Kickstarter scheme are key to that. We know from our work in the communities that young people want to work, but many need extra help to gain the skills and confidence to find and stay in work.
“We are thrilled that our first tranche of ‘Kickstarters’ has joined us. We are grateful to Baroness Stedman-Scott for taking the time to meet some of these young people and learn about their experiences. Listening to the needs of people is the first step towards levelling up the country as it ensures Government hears first-hand the barriers to employment and prosperity that many communities face.
“As Government plans to ‘level up’ the UK are rolled out, The Salvation Army urges the Government to continue listening to vulnerable people to ensure the balance of resource goes directly to those that need it. There must be a careful balance between investment in infrastructure like bridges and roads with supporting people in practical ways like employment support. This is particularly important to help many young adults to find and stay in work.”
The Salvation Army recently published an extensive research project to examine what communities need to fully recover and begin to flourish following the pandemic.
In addition to Kickstart, The Salvation Army’s has over 150 Employment Plus services across England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, which offer tailored support to help job seekers find and stay in work.
Rebecca Keating adds: “We hope the Government will continue to build on measures like Employment Plus services that support job training, roll out further apprentice schemes like Kickstart, but also introduce practical measures like improving childcare to help struggling families earn.
The expansion of Employment Plus services is an excellent way of supporting people who are desperate to work but need to update their skills and rethink how to find work in a changing world. The report will also recommend a series of targeted interventions to help those in low-paid work retrain and increase their earnings.
Written By: Rachel Emmett