Two Community Interest Companies in Bedfordshire have joined forces to develop a six-month programme designed to help those on the Government’s Kickstart work placement scheme.
The Like Me CIC specialises in empowering and inspiring the development of confidence in vulnerable women and girls, helping them to transform their lives. Now, the Like Me CIC has declared its support for the Kickstart scheme, and has entered into a partnership with the Shine Learning and Training Centre in Luton to offer the Kickstart Hire Me Programme.
The Kickstart scheme provides funding to create new job placements for 16 to 24-year-olds on Universal Credit who are at risk of long-term unemployment. Employers of all sizes can apply for funding, which covers the National Minimum Wage (or National Living Wage) for 25 hours per week for six months. In return, the employer has to provide work experience and future employability support to the young person.
The Like Me CIC’s Kickstart Hire Me programme is designed to support the continual development of those on work placement. Through providing live virtual content and online material, the programme aims to help each young person develop their ability to become a better employee. In providing that support, the programme takes some of the pressure off the employer to support the development of those employability skills.
Shine Learning and Training CIC can offer practical courses including First Aid, Fire Awareness, Mental Health Awareness, Health and Safety and Manual Handling; while The Like Me CIC can work with young people on areas such as confidence building, equality and inclusion awareness, CV writing and job application skills, teamworking and communications skills.
Jasmine Mbye, founder of The Like Me CIC, explained: “I was very excited by the idea of the Government’s Kickstart scheme. I’ve always had an interest in employability and empowering women and girls to improve their personal development and confidence, so it was definitely something I wanted to be involved in.
“We teamed up with Shine because that way we feel like we can offer the whole package and take the employability development away from employers, leaving them to provide work experience and let young people actually find out what the world of work is like, and develop new skills, while we help them with all the rest. The funding the employer receives from the government can be used to engage the Kickstart Help Me Programme, so it comes as no additional cost to the business offering the Kickstart placement.”
The Like Me CIC team includes Bethany Daly and Emma Hall, who both benefited from the Kickstart scheme. Bethany put her increased confidence and new skills down to the opportunities it gave her, while Emma said: “The Kickstart Scheme is great for getting relevant experience in a sector you are passionate about. I enjoy the daily tasks that increase in challenge and quantity. The variety of skill building and teamwork work well together to benefit both the young person and company.
“The Kickstart scheme provides great opportunity to learn and grow as a person and professional while benefiting the business with their aims and objectives.”
Other than its annual conference, which this year will be held in June and has as its theme Rising From The Ashes, The Like Me CIC runs courses in wellbeing, self-development and empowerment, as well as guest speaker events and workshops. Typically, those turning to The Like Me CIC, which runs courses for women and girls, have low self-worth and may have endured abuse, bullying, exploitation, family conflict and violence and common health disorders such as anxiety, depression and stress.
“I’m passionate about empowering women and girls and helping them celebrate and achieve their goals and so being able to be involved in the Kickstart scheme is the perfect fit,” said Jasmine. “Getting into the world of work isn’t easy, and you don’t know what to expect. I can remember facing issues with a senior member of the team when I was in my first job and I didn’t know how to react. It made me unhappy, but I was naïve and probably just thought that’s what workplaces were like. It took my father to explain to me that if you’re not happy, get out. I’d had a bad experience, with without someone like my dad to tell me that, I wouldn’t have known. Young people need a chance to learn and gain experience so they can develop themselves and increase their chances of doing something that they are truly passionate about.”
Employers who want to find out more about the Kickstart Help Me Programme can contact The Like Me CIC through the website www.thelikemecic.org.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org