SHROPSHIRE Chamber of Commerce has its sights set on helping to create more than 1,000 work placement vacancies for young people through the Government’s Kickstart campaign.

The Chamber was the first ‘gateway’ provider in the county to post live vacancies as part of the £2 billion scheme to help young people aged 16-24 at risk of long-term unemployment.

Hundreds of companies across Shropshire – which the Chamber hailed as a 'fantastic response' – have now come forward to offer vacancies in a wide range of sectors from manufacturing to professional services, hospitality, social care, marketing, animal welfare, and more.

Ruth Ross, Shropshire Chamber’s director of business, said: “We are keen to ensure we can help as many young people as possible to gain valuable job experience, hopefully leading to full-time employment or apprenticeships.

“As businesses look to reopen or rebuild after lockdown, this scheme is a very valuable way of providing them with Government-funded support to help drive them forward.

“We’re grateful to local companies for their fantastic response so far, and delighted to have been able to take on two Kickstart candidates ourselves to help us administer the scheme – a chance for them to help other young people who are in a similar position.”

More than 700 placement offers have already been logged with the Chamber, with around half now officially approved for funding – and the team has its sights set on passing the 1,000 mark.

Shropshire Chamber has also taken three people on at its own offices through Kickstart – two to help administer the project, and one in the export documentation division.

Under the scheme, the Government funds 100 per cent of relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions.

Shropshire businesses taking on a Kickstart candidate can also apply for £1,500 per job placement available to cover their set-up costs, support and training.

Shropshire Chamber chief executive Richard Sheehan added: “We would like to say a big thanks to the Shropshire business community for the way it has stepped up to engage with Kickstart and offer so many placement opportunities.

“We are extremely proud to support this unique initiative to provide opportunities to kickstart the careers of young people.

“Our services are available free of charge to help businesses navigate the administrative minefield, deal with the paperwork, and take the pressure off them.”

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