Last Thursday I had the opportunity to visit the Job Centre here in Swindon to see first-hand the positive impact that the Government’s Kickstart scheme is having in helping 16 to 24 year olds find employment.
Throughout the visit it was great to talk with so many young people who had just been offered placements or jobs for the first time and discuss how the Kickstart Scheme had helped them take an initial step towards a career.
It was also encouraging to discuss with the employers at the event how hiring somebody through the Kickstart Scheme, which offers six-months job for young people who are currently claiming Universal Credit and are at risk of long-term unemployment, has helped their business grow.
Across the country thousands of employers have already applied for funding which covers 100% of the National Minimum Wage (or the National Living Wage depending on the age of the participant) for 25 hours per week for 6 months, associated employer National Insurance contributions, minimum automatic enrolment pension contributions, and a grant of £1,500 per job to cover setup costs and employability support.
To find out more, please visit: https://kickstart.campaign.gov.uk/.
It was good to see Cllr Tim Swinyard and David Renard, the Leader of Swindon Borough Council, visit New College to see the fantastic facilities they have for T-Level students.
The introduction of T-Levels, which are a high quality technical qualification on par with A-Levels, is a much needed and once in a generation reform and I am encouraged that the courses have been developed with industry experts and involve quality placements.
These courses will provide the skills and education we need here in Swindon to help us improve and retain talent while giving students the qualifications they need for their future careers.
If you would like to find our more about T-Levels, make sure you visit: https://www.tlevels.gov.uk/.
On Friday I had a busy morning visiting two of our brilliant local schools. The first visit was to Holy Family in Park North, a brilliant primary school serving the local community.
Here I was able to meet with representatives from each year group on the School Council and answer questions about climate change and the other key issues which matter to them. Following this, I headed to Lydiard Park Academy where I spoke about politics, democracy and current affairs with Year 11 and Sixth Form students.
There were some brilliant questions from students, I just hope that I was able to give some half-decent answers!
On Saturday I was bac at the STEAM Museum – this time for a flu jab. This season’s flu vaccination programme will be one of the biggest in this country’s history, with the vaccine being made available to more than 35 million people for free.
This is really important work, and I am urging everyone in Swindon to not just get their Covid vaccines, but if eligible, to take up the offer of a free flu vaccine as well and help protect the NHS this winter.