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EMPLOYMENT: Merseyside project to fight back at unemployment

EMPLOYMENT: Merseyside project to fight back at unemployment

Image: LDRS

A project which could create up to 30 jobs in our region is aiming to start a fightback against poverty and unemployment.

Merseyside charities Feeding Liverpool and Feeding Birkenhead, Supporting Wirral are looking to create up to 30 ‘kickstart job placements’ in the weeks ahead, with the first 14 already being offered to young people.

The placements run for six months and are available to unemployed young people who have been on Universal Credit for six months or more.

The programme is being subsidised by the government’s Department for Work and Pensions.

A year ago, as the impact of the pandemic was felt across our region, both Merseyside charities recorded a series of disturbing trends, such as the sudden disappearance of the ‘first rung of the jobs ladder’ in retail, services and hospitality.

This trend quickly put huge numbers of young people at risk of long-term unemployment, poverty and reliance on food banks.

In response, the charities began creating job placements for young people who were exposed to that risk.

Feeding Britain, the national movement to which both groups belong, then worked with the government to create the Kickstart programme.

Dr Naomi Maynard, Feeding Liverpool’s co-ordinator, said: “The pandemic has shed light on the already precarious nature of employment for many, with young people disproportionately affected this year.

“The Kickstart scheme is an important first step towards creating more stable futures; six months in, we would welcome a full review of the scheme and consideration of its extension beyond 2021.

“Locally, Feeding Liverpool members have committed to top up placements offered through the Kickstart Scheme to the Real Living Wage.

“We would encourage other host organisations to mirror this commitment and invest in young people and their futures.”

Andrew Forsey, Feeding Britain’s national director, said: “If we are to stand any chance of ending the need for food banks, we need quickly to eliminate long-term unemployment.

“Through the Kickstart programme, both Feeding Liverpool and Feeding Birkenhead, Supporting Wirral are helping to lead that effort in Merseyside.”

Words: George Morgan, Local Democracy Reporter

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