We're delighted to accept an award from the Department of Work and Pensions for our involvement in the government's Kickstart Scheme.
To support young people at risk of falling into long-term unemployment, the council and Berneslai Homes took part in the scheme to provide six-month paid placements. With agreement from our Cabinet Members, this was match funded to extend the posts to a full year.
In that time, 64 young people have benefitted from the programme, and 43 qualifications have been achieved. We've supported 73% of our placements into paid employment or an apprenticeship by the end of the scheme. We're also working with a further nine young people who are close to securing paid employment.
Courtney, one of the placements, said: "I am pleased to be in a full-time, permanent position at the council after my Kickstart Placement. I enjoy my role supporting the organisation with admin. Support through the programme helped me to think about my goals for work and how I could achieve them."
Daniel, another placement, added: "I was keen to start work after university, but I found the job application process challenging. My role at Barnsley Council meant I could build my skills and learn to work with Aspergers. After a successful placement, I'm happy to be growing my career with West Yorkshire Combined Authority. I'm excited to be working towards my professional accreditation."
This project is just one of the ways we're supporting young people to develop their skills and employability. Over the past year, we've engaged over 400 individuals with experience in work opportunities, including T-Level placements, supported internships, and apprenticeships. These opportunities have helped to shape young people's aspirations and future career choices while supporting many into paid employment.
Cllr Sir Steve Houghton CBE, Leader of Barnsley Council, said: "The Kickstart programme provided an incredible opportunity to support young people to get their foot on the employment ladder. We were thrilled that the council and Berneslai Homes could extend the initial government-funded six-month placements so that our young people could experience a full year of real-world experience in working life."
Sarah Norman, Chief Executive of Barnsley Council, said: "Achieving this award has provided a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the achievements of our placements and their contribution to delivering excellent services to the people of Barnsley. We're proud to see how they've developed a range of personal and professional skills and have finished the experience well-prepared to enter the wider world of work."
Cllr Robert Frost, Cabinet Spokesperson for Regeneration and Culture, said: "The feedback from our placements demonstrates how employment can provide people with a renewed sense of purpose and belonging by sparking their interests and motivations. It also supports good health and wellbeing, while helping people connect with others. It's fantastic to hear how beneficial these placements have been. These young people have some excellent experience on their CV, but they've also benefitted from a year of support to grow into their roles."
If you're 16 to 24 and want to receive support to set and achieve your work goals while improving your confidence, our Barnsley Youth Hub can help. Our Employment and Skills service also provides support for people aged 13 to 24 who have an education, health and care plan (EHCP) or those who are in care or are a care leaver. There is also support for people aged 16 to 18 and working with the youth justice service.