Multi-award-winning regional college group Education Partnership North East has been recognised for its role as a Gateway Organisation for the Kickstart Scheme. 

In September, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) presented the group with a certificate acknowledging the success of Sunderland College and Northumberland College in supporting dozens of young people into employment over the past two years. 

Working with employers such as Gentoo, South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, Bernicia, Back on the Map, A Love Supreme, Tritility and Prima Cheese who have offered placements, more than 160 16-24-year-olds developed the skills, confidence and behaviours to enhance the career prospects through the Scheme. 

Business Engagement Manager, Rebecca Storey, said: “We were delighted to be presented with our Kickstart Gateway Organisation certificate by the DWP. Over the past two years Sunderland College and Northumberland College have proudly helped so many young people into employment through apprenticeships and permanent roles via the Scheme. 

“The Kickstart Scheme is a fantastic opportunity for businesses to create new roles and grow their workforce, in turn providing young people with invaluable work experience.   

“We are grateful to all of the fantastic organisations we work with who have hosted Kickstart placements and thank them for their continued support.” 

Launched in 2020, the Kickstart Scheme provides funding to create new jobs for 16-to-24-year-olds on Universal Credit who are at risk of long-term unemployment. 

Roles offered under the scheme must be new jobs that do not replace existing or planned vacancies or cause current employees, apprentices or contractors to lose or reduce their employment.   

During their six-month placement, employers must also ensure the young people develop their employment, teamwork, organisational and communication skills for the role, while supporting them with CV writing and interview preparation and training.  

As one of the most successful gateway providers in the region, Education Partnership North East can support employer applications for funding by submitting all relevant information to the Government on their behalf and providing the required employability training and specialist training as required.  

A young person completing a Kickstart placement in England can then progress on to an apprenticeship with organisations receiving access to the full range of financial support and grants available.  

Alexander Hammond, Head of Learning and Organisational Development at Gentoo, said: “Working with EPNE, we have been able to create opportunities for seven young people through the Kickstart scheme to get into work and gain some valuable experience.  

“In addition, we’ve been really impressed with the young people on the scheme who are all performing really well and helping to deliver essential services to our tenants and customers.”  

To find out more about the Kickstart scheme email or call 0300 770 1000. 

Why Education Partnership North East (EPNE)?

Highly commended - Employer of the Year, Sunderland Echo Portfolio Awards 2019

Engagement with Employers - Association of Colleges (AoC) Beacon Award 2017

(Sunderland College On-programme Survey 2017)

Selected by DfE for 2021 T Level pilot to deliver the new high-quality technical qualifications.

98% overall employer satisfaction - Employer Survey 2018/19