Start me up: Job creation, traineeships, the future - and how the planets are aligning in Gloucestershire
It is easy to see the world fragmenting currently with the immense pressures coming to bear on the county and beyond – but strong partnerships are creating hope for the future.
We could point in a number of directions as proof, but today we point at Gloucestershire College and one of the county’s most powerful groups of business people whose catalytic work is helping knit the fabric of our future economic and social success.
It is not the only organisation at work to make it happen, but it is a major one - Circle2Success, the business a leadership and networking organisation, has been helping the college corral companies who can place a trainee.
That it was to dedicate itself to the challenge came, shall we say, as much a surprise to C2S as anyone else - when, with lashings if his trademark charm, Richard Graham, MP for Gloucester, cheekily nominated it for the task.
Pictured: Gloucestershire College's Gloucester campus
Championing the Government’s Kickstarter scheme, C2S has been busy propositioning its already pro-active membership and become a conduit putting the willing and able firms in touch with the college who put them in touch with young people seeking work experience. The Government picks up the bill.
For businesses previously frustrated at finding potential talent this is a moment when all the planets align.
Suzanne Hall-Gibbins, a director and founder of Staverton-headquartered C2S, said: “This really is the perfect time for those who can to come forward. It could help a business discover a talented future permanent member of staff, but it will provide invaluable work experience for those young people.”
She added: “What we don’t want is the that forgotten group of young people with no access to a work opportunity.
“We (C2S itself) have pledged to take someone on through the scheme too – and we will keep pushing it. We do see this as an opportunity for business and for young people.”
Pictured: Gloucestershire College's Cheltenham campus
For its part, the college then handles the inevitable paperwork and helps each business find a suitable candidate from its army of vetted students – some of who would be on apprenticeships, if only the picture was different for county firms economically.
The college is also pushing the extra funding available for businesses for apprentices - from Level 2 through to degree level – as part of its Back Local Talent campaign.
Andy Bates, chief financial officer at Gloucestershire College, said: “This is an unprecedented opportunity, for those businesses that can, to take advantage of a chance to try out a prospective member of staff vetted by the college, with funding support in some cases.”
Kickstarter is the Government scheme aimed at supporting 16 to 24 year olds who currently claim Universal Credit and are at serious risk of becoming long-term unemployed. It provides funding for employers to create new six-month job placements for these young people.
Pictured: Gloucestershire College's Cinderford campus
Government funding will cover 100 per cent of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours per week, associated employer National Insurance contributions, and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions.
Numbers are coming in from Circle2Success and the drive continues. Businesses can offer any number of places - even just one. It is about the chance to mentor, about spreading hope, valuable work experience, and finding those future staff.
“Business is definitely interested. We have had quite a few applications, which is really, really positive,” said Becky Boxwell, from Gloucestershire College. “The college’s Business Hub is open and ready to talk to companies and make this happen.
“And with January start dates for many of the apprenticeships as well now is the perfect time for business to talk to us. We can then get everything in order for them in time for 2021.”