266 supported into employment thanks to Headstart Scheme

headstart - young people on employment secheme

headstart - young people on employment sechemeWhat is Headstart?

Headstart is a programme that works with local companies to create employment opportunities for out of work young adults. The scheme helps companies to identify opportunities where they can take on a new employee.  The new positions are part funded by a grant which, encourages companies to take a risk on someone with potentially less experience or qualifications than they would normally look for.

It also means that companies who had a need for an extra employee, but were not in a financial position to employ one, could afford to create posts to help expand their organisation and benefit the young person.

How does Headstart work?

All positions created are for a minimum of 6 months and pay at least the national minimum wage.  The jobs are either full or part time, although the majority have been for over 30 hours a week. The young people receive training, support and guidance throughout the 6 months this helps them to cope with both work and personal issues that may have otherwise adversely affected their employment.

Headstart Successes

For the young people involved, these jobs give them valuable work experience – which will make it easier for them to apply for a job in the future. They also gain confidence in their abilities and learn more about the type of work they enjoy and are good at. The majority (71%) of those helped into work stayed in work for the full 6 months, of those 92% have remained in employment beyond the first 6 months.

Praise from businesses

Businesses involved in the scheme have also sung its praises.  Rapidly expanding, Huddersfield based Excel Manufacturing has taken on 15 Headstart employees over the last 2 years.  7 of these young people have been given permanent contracts and 3 are still in their first 6 months but performing well.

Excel Director Joanne Schofield commented:

“Working with Headstart has been fantastic for us as with our constant growth our staff requirements continue to increase. Headstart has helped our HR department with sourcing the right people first time, meaning extensive savings in time and effort.”

For Midas Aluminium Limited Headstart Kirklees’ bespoke matching service was just what they wanted.  Midas had a particular challenge as they have an aging workforce and needed to recruit younger people who they could train to fulfil specialist roles. For small organisations this up skilling process can be costly.  It therefore seemed that Headstart, which looks at the needs of the role within each business and matches this to the skills of the young people would be an ideal programme to help resolve these issues.  Their first recruit didn’t work out, but the experience was worthwhile for both the young man and the company so they decided to try again, their second attempt resulted in a perfect fit and they have every intention of keeping him on after his 6 month contract is completed.

Gemma from Midas Aluminium said:

“We feel that the scheme has benefited us immensely as we have recognised have an ageing workforce and we felt we needed some younger people to give our twenty-five year old company some new input and maintain the skill set needed to secure our future.’

“Our young person has fitted in fantastically and we see real potential here. He gets along with the existing team members and shows that he already has skill but we feel we can develop him further, potentially in other directions within the company.’

“His colleagues are all impressed with his abilities; he retains instructions and is happy to help in any area of the business.  He is working both quickly and to high standards, and he is trusted to complete work without supervision.  He is very capable and with one to one training he is flourishing.

“We have been able to give him more complex tasks after training and he has remembered them well, probably exceeding the expectations we had of him when he first started with us.  He is a real asset to our company and we may look at taking on other Headstart candidates due to this success.’

 More about Headstart

Headstart is a Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) initiative helping young people across the area into jobs and providing support to stay in work.

Stephanie Burras, Chair of the LEP Employment and Skills Panel said:

“I am delighted that this programme is supporting young people into work, and with the provision of one to one mentoring, helping them to stay in a job and start their career within our region.”

“Improving the skills of the Leeds City Region population and enabling all residents to work and progress is central to the LEP’s ambitions for economic growth. The number of people aged 18-24 claiming jobseekers allowance has fallen from 28,500 in May 2012 to 8,250 today, taking us a long way towards our 2012 ambition of a ‘NEET-free’ City Region.”

More information on Headstart

The scheme was open to young people referred by job centre plus or via partner services.

More information on Headstart and other Council Employability Programmes is available by calling 01484 221000 and asking for Headstart.



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