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Council launches new employment project

Quickstart Bridgend is a new initiative that will be offered by Bridgend County Borough Council to provide those seeking employment with paid work placements hosted by employers from across the county borough. 

Funded through UK Government’s Shared Prosperity Fund, the new venture is based on the former Kickstart Scheme which provided funding to employers to create jobs for 16- to 24-year-olds on Universal Credit.  However, Quickstart Bridgend will be open to all job seekers above the age of 18 years.

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) will support employers to recruit for the Quickstart Bridgend vacancies and the council’s Employability Bridgend team will help the applicants to gain a paid placement. 

Following this, the local authority will work with a delivery partner to support the short term, paid work placements for the successful participants, with the objective of securing a permanent post for those involved at the end of the placement period. The scheme is expected to start in May 2024 and run until January 2025.

Currently, local businesses are being encouraged to register their interest in the scheme and to note the following conditions: 

  • Placements will be at least 25 hours per week.
  • Roles must not replace existing or planned vacancies, be seasonal, cause existing employees, apprentices or contractors to lose work or reduce their working hours.
  • Placements must be in excess of 16 weeks and up to 24 weeks, and concluded by 31 January 2025.
  • Applicants for the placements will need to be above 18 years of age.
  • From 1 April 2024, the minimum wage for those aged 21 years and over is £11.44 and for those aged 18 to 20 years, it is £8.60.
  • Wages paid will be returned in retrospect via a claim process. Therefore, companies must have the cashflow to pay individuals, as well as the relevant contributions to HMRC, before being reimbursed by the Quickstart Bridgend project.

Companies who employ between 10 to 250 employees will be the primary focus of consideration; however, in exceptional circumstances, businesses that employ less than 10 staff but can potentially offer ongoing employment will also be considered.

It is hoped that employers, supported by DWP, will interview a range of applicants and select those that best suit their company using their usual processes.  All applicants will be assisted by Employability Bridgend prior the interview, ensuring that they benefit from a fulfilling interview experience with the host employer.  

Information supplied by prospective employers will be shared with the successful contractor chosen to work in partnership with the council in relation to this project.

What a fantastic venture! Over the last year, employment in Bridgend County Borough has decreased, with 72.9 percent of people aged 16 to 64 years employed in September 2022, compared to 68.8 percent in September 2023. This initiative offers a support structure for individuals and employers alike to address unemployment across the county borough.

We are expecting lots of interest in this scheme, so would advise employers to express interest in the initiative as soon as possible.

In light of this, if an employer shows an expression of interest, it may not guarantee that they will be able to host a placement. However, if selected, employers will be supported throughout the process, including with any training offered to participants.

I have high hopes for this project and look forward to seeing its success.

Councillor Neelo Farr, Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Wellbeing

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