More than 100 young people have taken their first steps towards a fulfilling career thanks to Education Partnership North East and the Kickstart scheme.

Since launching in 2020 companies such as Gentoo, South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, Tritility, Bernicia, Roundel Manufacturing and Vaux Brewery have offered vacancies with support from the group through Sunderland College and Northumberland College who are approved ‘gateway providers’ for the initiative. 

The scheme offers 16-24-year-olds who are receiving Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment a six-month high-quality placement so they can develop skills, confidence and behaviours to enhance their career prospects. 

The Government funds 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus National Insurance and pension contributions. In addition, successful employers will also receive £1,500 per placement towards setup costs, ongoing support and training. 

Rebecca Storey, Senior Business Advisor, said: “We are thrilled to have achieved 125 successful Kickstart placements and the positive impact this will have on the businesses and individuals involved. 

“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.  

“The scheme has recently been extended until March 2022 and we are excited to support more businesses on their Kickstart journey.” 

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 visit 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