Eastbourne and Willingdon MP Caroline Ansell’s very own Kickstarter has said goodbye as figures show the government scheme helping young people into work has been a resounding success locally.

Kacey Gray undertook a six-month Kickstart placement in Caroline’s constituency office in 2022 and she was then employed for a further year.

The 19-year-old left a few weeks ago to take up the role of manager at My Candy Land – a new sweet shop in Grove Road.

Locally more than 80% of 226 kickstart placements for the NHS have gone on to gain employment with the NHS, with social care providers or gone into higher education since the scheme started.

“Kickstart has been a success for my office with the brilliant Kacey on our team and it has been a success for our local health and social care sector too,” said Caroline.

“I am delighted so many of our 16-24-year-olds took part and moved onto employment, training or education, especially as the pandemic was such a disruption. It shows how worthwhile it was to set up and thank you to our local Job Centre Plus for all the help and support given to Kacey and many others.

“We are going to miss Kacey but we know she is moving on with her career and we hope her time with us has been something she will remember.”

Kacey said: “I want to thank Caroline and the team for the opportunity to work with them for the last 18 months.

“Because of the pandemic, I didn’t sit exams or have the opportunities to gain work experience.

“During my placement I have grown in confidence and am ready to take the next step in my career. I do not think I would have had the confidence to take on a managerial position without this experience.”

She added: “Seeing Caroline work hard for her constituents every day has been absolutely remarkable.”

Under the now closed £2 billion Kickstart scheme young people aged 16 to 24 on Universal Credit could undertake a six-month work placement. The government paid their wages, National Insurance and pension for 25 hours a week.

Pictured are Caroline, Kacey and DWP minister Mims Davies