Launch of government's £2b Kickstart Scheme welcomed by operators
The government's £2b Kickstart Scheme, which launched this week and is set to triple the number of traineeships across the UK, has been widely welcomed by hospitality operators who are eligible for grants.
Jill Scatchard, HR director at Oakman Inns, has called the scheme "profoundly inspirational" and said that Oakman Inns was "ideally placed" to support it.
She said: "Young people are amongst those hardest hit by the pandemic as in some sectors such as the arts, opportunities no longer exist.
"However, with a strong and award-winning history of successfully creating and developing career opportunities, our policy has always been to allow each team member to become as good as they can be and the scheme will help them to recover their confidence and to develop their future."
She added that such training programmes, including Oakman Inn's Oakmanology, allowed "hidden talents and craft skills" to be discovered which would likely lead to happy and fulfilling careers.
Greg Manghan, founder of charity Only A Pavement Away also welcomed the scheme and anticipated it being taken up by "forward-thinking" employers.
He told The Caterer: "This is an age group who are in some ways looking down the barrel of the gun.
"What better an industry to join than hospitality. The careers are there, you do it on your attitude. We need young blood and we need people who want to help."
He said such a scheme was a "preventative measure" against people becoming destitute and being classed as homeless and confirmed he was already in talks with homeless charity Centrepoint, who were keen for Only A Pavement Away to partner with them in the scheme.
UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls commented on Twitter: "Half of all hospitality workers are aged 18-24 and we look forward to playing our part to help kickstart careers and economic recovery."
The scheme was announced in July as part of chancellor's 'plan for jobs', which set out the biggest package of support for youth unemployment in decades. As part of the programme, the government will fund each Kickstart job, paying 100% of the age-relevant National Minimum Wage, National Insurance and pension contributions for 25 hours a week, for every apprentice they hire under the age of 25.
Employers will be able to top up this wage, while the government will also pay employers £1,500 to set up support and training for people on a Kickstart placement, as well as helping pay for uniforms and other set-up costs.
While Kickstart is not an apprenticeship, participants may move on to an apprenticeship at any time during or after their job placement. The scheme is open until December 2021 with the possibility of being extended.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said it was "an opportunity to kickstart the careers of thousands of young people who could otherwise be left behind as a result of the pandemic."
The Scheme has been hailed as a boost for both operators needing to recruit and retain talent however, some have voiced concern that it is aimed at larger companies. Applications must be for a minimum of 30 job placements and smaller organisations are invited to partner with others to reach the minimum requirement.
Last month it was reported in The Caterer that Michelin-starred restaurant Cottage in the Wood in the Lake District was launching an apprenticeship scheme that would be underpinned by the Kickstart Scheme.