More young people across the West Midlands could be helped into long-term employment, thanks to the growth of Birmingham-based charity Sport 4 Life UK, which has recruited a new manager and promoted an internal team member to bolster its Kickstart Scheme proposition.
Sport 4 Life UK provides sports-themed personal development programmes to youngsters aged between 11 and 29-years-old. The charity has appointed Sarah Kerry, who joins from the Scout Association, as Employability Partnerships Manager, and promoted Jeni Bennett, formerly Employability Mentor, to the position of Mentoring Project Manager, to strengthen its work with businesses in the region offering Kickstart placements to young people.
Kickstart is a Government scheme which offers six-month placements to people aged between 16 and 24 and who are not in education, employment or training.
Alongside work experience, the initiative requires youngsters to be given career advice, help with setting goals, assistance with CV and interview preparation, and support with basic skills such as attendance, timekeeping and teamwork. Sport 4 Life UK’s Kickstart team exists to help employers with these aspects of the programme, allowing them to focus on providing sector experience to their young recruits.
Sarah’s role is to seek out opportunities with businesses interested in participating in the Kickstart Scheme, in which employers receive a grant of £1,500. Jeni, meanwhile, will work closely with youngsters to ensure they and their host businesses are getting the most out of the placements.
Of her appointment, Sarah said: “I’m really excited about joining Sport 4 Life UK at this time as it is doing fantastic and important work with young people who have been badly affected by the pandemic. Improving life chances is something I’m passionate about and I can’t wait to get started, building relationships with employers across the region and beyond, with a view to providing a better future to young people.”
Jeni added: “The Kickstart Scheme is a fantastic opportunity for young people to get a foot on the workplace ladder and I know if they are accompanied by support of the kind offered by Sport 4 Life UK, the chances of entering long-term employment are improved no end. I’m looking forward to working alongside Sarah to make a difference.”
Sport 4 Life UK founder and CEO Tom Clarke-Forrest said: “As the economy starts to bounce back after the pandemic, an increasing number of businesses are looking at supporting young people through the Kickstart Scheme. But for many who haven’t offered apprenticeships or work placements before, it can be difficult to know where to start and how to help young people make the most of their experience.
At Sport 4 Life UK, this is very much our bread and butter and we’re on hand to help both businesses and young people benefit from Kickstart.”
The government-backed Kickstart scheme covers 100% of the National Minimum Wage (or the National Living Wage depending on the age of the participant) for 25 hours per week for a total of six months, and National Insurance contributions. Employers will also receive £1,500 funding per job placement to cover setup costs and to support the young person to develop their employability skills.
Crucially, all employers who take on a placement through the Kickstart Scheme must evidence how the business will help participants develop their skills and experience. Sport 4 Life UK’s Kickstart Support package will assist those businesses not able to provide, or evidence, this level of in-house training.
Thanks to Sport 4 Life UK, each placement can be supported with officially recognised documentation to evidence training and support required for the Kickstart Scheme grant application.
Businesses interested in participating in the Kickstart Scheme are invited to contact Sport 4 Life UK at [email protected] or 0121 4561818 (option 3) to discuss how the charity can help it add value to youngsters on placement.