Southern Co-op takes on third set of Kickstarter trainees

The placements are part of a government scheme for young people at risk of long-term unemployment

Southern Co-op says it will take on its third cohort of Kickstarters – 16 to 24 year olds at risk of long-term unemployment – next month.

The government scheme was set up to help young people off universal credit and with the latest set of recruits will bring the number on placement at Southern to nearly 40.

The placements are spread across the independent retail co-op’s head office in Portsmouth and its food and funeral sites in Addlestone, Banstead, Bristol, Camberley, Havant, Lake on the Isle of Wight, Newbury, Overton, Portsmouth, Romsey, Basingstoke, Southampton, Staines, Tadley and Wimbledon.

Sarah Kavanagh, the society’s business transformation & HR director, said: “Unemployment has been higher in younger age groups for some time and unfortunately this has been exacerbated by the pandemic. It is clear to us that they need additional help now to get back into work or to take the first step toward full time employment.

“The Kickstart Scheme means we look for people aged 16 to 24, with the right attitude, and give them the opportunity to learn new skills while being paid.

“We expected it to take a bit of time for some to find their feet and get into the routine of work but, after about three weeks, we have been getting some great feedback. One manager described their new starter as ‘100% amazing’, ‘flexible, keen and willing to try anything’.”

The placements are funded by the Government for 25 hours per week for six months and referrals are made on to the scheme via local Jobcentres.

The job placements provide opportunities to young people who may have been overlooked before due to lack of experience.

Southern’s programme is also giving young adults a chance to gain a Level One Certificate in Employability Skills at Havant & South Downs College.