Hundreds of small businesses and sole traders are to provide work placements to unemployed young people under the Kickstart programme.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has given its backing to a scheme which will enable small employers and sole traders to provide work placements to unemployed people aged 16-24 under the government's Kickstart programme.
More than 700 small firms have so far come forward to offer placements through a gateway set up by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), alongside Adecco Working Ventures (AWV) which will be the intermediary employer.
AWV will provide support to the young people taking part throughout their six-month placement and beyond, including mentoring, a dedicated placement manager, skills development, help with CV-building and job applications, as well as post-placement support towards future employment.
AWV will handle all of the administration required for payroll, HR and monitoring, allowing employers to focus on providing a high-quality work placement experience. It means that smaller businesses and sole traders who might otherwise be deterred from offering Kickstart placements can more easily take part. AWV will liaise with Jobcentre Plus to identify and recruit young people best suited to the roles available.
FSB national chairman Mike Cherry said: "The coronavirus crisis has made it much more difficult for young people to find employment, and it is vital that they are given opportunities to gain workplace experience so that they can go on to have successful careers or even become entrepreneurs themselves.
"Small businesses can be the ideal environment to nurture talent, which is why we wanted to see a range of options available to access Kickstart, including this model which will enable even the smallest employers to provide placements."
Thérèse Coffey, the secretary of state for work and pensions, said: "We have opened an important gateway through the Federation of Small Businesses and Adecco Working Ventures to help small employers and sole traders create new life-changing opportunities for young people through our Kickstart scheme.
"This is a crucial part of our Plan for Jobs to create and support jobs across the UK, ensuring help reaches those who need it most and they aren't left without hope or opportunity."
Small firms can apply through the FSB's Kickstart Gateway page on its website.
Written by Rachel Miller.