THIRTY-ONE Eastbourne companies have already signed up to the Kickstart scheme.

Eastbourne and Willingdon MP Caroline Ansell today praised local businesses for signing up to the government’s new £2 billion Kickstart scheme helping young people into work.

So far 31 placements have been pledged in the town by companies for young people aged 16 to 24 so they can undertake a six-month work placement if they are claiming Universal Credit.

Under the UK-wide scheme, the government will pay their wages, National Insurance and pension for 25 hours a week. 

Employers can top up the wage and the government will also pay employers to set up support and training for people on a Kickstart placement.

“Unemployment figures today show young people hit hard by this pandemic so I am really pleased there is so much enthusiasm for this scheme in our town in such a short space of time,” said Caroline.

“The government and our community must do all it can to help young people recover and find jobs and skills and this is an excellent scheme.

“I can now only ask for more businesses to come forward and sign up so we can help as many young people as possible get work experience and skills that could set them up in a career.

“Please get in touch with me if you are interested.”

To help small businesses get involved, the government will ask employers offering fewer than 30 placements to bid through local authorities or chambers of commerce to make the process easier and less labour intensive.

Young people will be referred into the new roles through their Jobcentre Plus work coach with the first Kickstarts expected to begin at the start of November.

The scheme will initially be open until December 2021, with the option of it being extended.