Kickstart job placement scheme

Devon & Plymouth Chamber supported the Department for Work & Pensions by helping 400 young people get into work via the Kickstart Scheme. 81% of those who completed their placement went into further education or employment.

The Kickstart Scheme was a £2 billion fund creating hundreds of thousands of high-quality 6-month work placements for young people aged 16-24, who were claiming Universal Credit. We worked alongside the British Chambers of Commerce as a recognised intermediary in helping businesses access the scheme.

The job placements created with Kickstart funding were new jobs.

They must not have:

  • replaced existing or planned vacancies
  • caused existing employees or contractors to lose or reduce their employment
  • The roles you were applying for must have been:
  • a minimum of 25 hours per week, for 6 months
  • paid at least the National Minimum Wage for their age group
  • should not require people to undertake extensive training before they begin the job placement

Employers must have been able to develop the applicants’ skills and experience, including:

  • support to look for long-term work, including career advice and setting goals
  • support with CV and interview preparations
  • supporting the participant with basic skills, such as attendance, timekeeping and teamwork


The Devon & Plymouth Chamber saw 708 approved Kickstart placements and helped to fill over 400 of those vacancies with local businesses.

Of the Chamber applicants who completed their six-month Kickstart placements, more than two thirds (73%) have gone into employment and 11% have gone back into Further or Higher Education.

Thanks to the appointment of our dedicated Kickstart Executive, Kyra Taylor-Reid – who is herself a successful Kickstart applicant and has now progressed onto a full time role – the process was executed smoothly for both businesses and young applicants.

This has led to more than 80% of employers being satisfied with the Kickstart support provided by the Chamber, while 92% are satisfied with the scheme itself.

And of those applicants who receive wraparound support facilitated by the Chamber, 76% have reported they are satisfied with the support provided.

Stuart Elford, Devon & Plymouth Chamber CEO, says: “The success of the Kickstart Scheme proves how important initiatives like this are to businesses who are in need of skilled-ready workers – particularly as we look to life after the Covid-19 pandemic.

“These Kickstart placements have allowed South West businesses who were not in a position to hire new employees six months ago, the opportunity to train young workers.

“As restrictions continue to ease, business confidence is growing continuously, which has seen many of these placements become available as permanent positions, providing full-time employment for young people.

“We’re also seeing that more and more businesses are keen to offer young people the opportunity to gain valuable work experience and new skills.

“The opportunities that the Kickstart Scheme provides to both businesses and young people looking for work are invaluable and it is helping to address the skills shortage with which firms are currently facing.”


Jasmine square

Jasmine Peglar

Devon & Plymouth Chamber of Commerce

Jasmine is without doubt one of the biggest successes to come from the Kickstart scheme. She started her six-month Kickstart placement towards the end of February 2021 as an Events Assistant at the Devon & Plymouth Chamber of Commerce.

During her placement, she was given access to a large range of online courses to help her further her skills and progress in the role. Jasmine also worked under the tutelage of more experienced employees and had regular progress checks with these mentors in order to further support her improvement.

The Kickstart scheme and the mentoring, combined with Jasmine’s exceptional work ethic and positive attitude, is what ultimately allowed her to ultimately become our Events Executive. She was also at the forefront of many large Chamber events such as the Golf Day, our Business Awards ceremony and Net Zero Live.

0 KICKSTART - Kyra Taylor-Reid

Kyra Taylor-Reid

Devon & Plymouth Chamber of Commerce

Kyra began her Kickstart placement with the Devon & Plymouth Chamber in February 2021 as a Kickstart Admin and Accounts Assistant. During her placement, Kyra received extensive on-the-job training from more senior employees at the Chamber. She also had access to a large number of training courses run by Cornwall Marine Network, such as marketing, sales, and content and visibility.

This, combined with her tremendous work ethic and positive attitude, has made Kyra a strong asset to the Chamber, and she is often credited as the main reason we have helped more than 300 young people into Kickstart roles.

Not only has Kyra’s placement benefitted the Chamber, it has also greatly benefitted her. The support from the Kickstart scheme has allowed Kyra to build her confidence in working with employers and conversing with people in the business world. She has also credited her placement for improving her ability to work in an office environment and teaching her new skills.

Kyra’s position eventually advanced into a full-time role as the Head Administrator for the Kickstart scheme, allowing her to further help young people in similar situations to where she was just six months prior. She strongly believes the scheme will be successful in its mission to reduce the chance of long-term unemployment for those involved. Kyra’s progression is a testament to what the scheme can do for a young person when combined with a little hard work and a positive attitude.

0 KICKSTART - Dale Walker-Watkins

Dale Walker-Watkins

Sole of Discretion

Dale started his six-month paid Kickstart placement with Sole of Discretion at the end of March 2021 through the Devon & Plymouth Chamber. During those six months, Dale worked under the supervision of another employee who had extensive experience in similar roles and was given plenty of resources to aid him in his new administrator role.

He feels that his confidence and knowledge, both in and out of the working environment, have greatly improved. Dale says: “I have learnt new skills and qualities that I can use in many different aspects of the working environment.”

Dale, like many others, believes the Kickstart scheme will be effective in its goal to reduce long-term unemployment with young people who have taken part, and that it gives businesses a great opportunity to further support young people into long-term employment. He also credits the scheme as the defining factor that allowed Sole of Discretion to effectively train him.

By the end of September 2021, Dale was offered a full-time role at Sole of Discretion which he claims has set him up with a, “career for life”.

0 KICKSTART - Jamie Bowles

Jamie Bowles

Bluepoint Tags and Labels

Jamie began his Kickstart placement in May 2021 as a production assistant at Bluepoint Tags and Labels. During this time, he worked under the supervision of older, more experienced workers, assisting with the printing process.

Eventually, Jamie took on a more independent printing role, being trained in the use of a narrow web printing press which has allowed him to become a real asset to Bluepoint. His time-keeping has also improved as he received regular advice from senior members of the business, leading to constructive criticism which has allowed Jamie to improve as an employee.

Jamie says he can see that the scheme will be effective in reducing the chance of long-term unemployment with young people involved and credits the scheme for giving him a sense of responsibility. Thanks to his hard work and improvement, Jamie has now progressed to a full-time role after his six-month Kickstart placement through the Devon & Plymouth Chamber.

Bluepoint Tags and Labels says Jamie’s placement has benefitted them as it has given them a chance to “train somebody from the ground up” and “build a long-term, happy, loyal employee”.


Microblading Emporium

Marina Marmolejo, Director

Microblading Emporium is one of the many businesses which has used the Devon & Plymouth Chamber of Commerce as a gateway for the Kickstart scheme. Marina Marmolejo, director of Microblading Emporium, says the scheme has more than exceeded her expectations and has greatly benefitted her business. She also says that having the extra support from the Kickstart candidates has allowed the business to progress in ways that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise.

Microblading Emporium employed its first Kickstarter in May 2021 and, since then, has continued to progress and support the future employability of young people. Marina has shown incredible support and confidence in her Kickstarters. Using the wraparound support provided by the Chamber, she has given these young people access to a variety of training courses and given her employees a better chance at future success.

Marina and her experienced Microblading Emporium team also spent one-to-one time with her Kickstarters, practicing future interview questions, building their confidence and making sure all work and achievements they have completed are recorded for reference with future employers. In addition to providing better support for new starters, this also gave existing employees new experience in managing less-experienced workers.

Saeed Moulai copy

Saeed Moulai

Applegate Marketplace

Saeed began his role with Applegate Marketplace as a Lead Generation Assistant in February 2021 after graduating from university. He settled into the role and began training in many different aspects of the business including e-mail marketing, lead generation and selling skills. This helped him to build on his university education and use his degree in a working environment.

The role was also beneficial for Saeed as he was able to work and live back in Devon after being away at university. The many different projects he worked on with different departments, allowed him to gain varied knowledge and experience which can be transferred to a range of different jobs.

Saeed also learned a new skill in business-to-business administration and is now able to effectively communicate with senior business officers to further aid the success of Applegate Marketplace. The business says that Saeed is a vital asset to the company, always sharing new ideas on how to generate leads in the sales department.

Saeed eventually progressed into a full-time role as a Sales & Marketing Executive, where he continued to receive further training and support from his employer, allowing him to continue to flourish as a successful young person.

New Leaf Logo

New Leaf Landscaping & Fencing

New Leaf Landscaping & Fencing started its Kickstart journey in May 2021, looking to build a workforce with a younger average age to inject new young talent into the company.

From the beginning, Kickstart employees were given in-depth training on how to use heavy machinery required to carry out their projects. They were also given the opportunity to learn on the job by shadowing senior workers and supporting them in carrying out their tasks.

Over time, the Kickstarters showed a massive improvement in their self-confidence and took on more independence in their roles and eventually, due to the extensive training and support they received, they were able to work completely independently and give their own ideas on how New Leaf Landscaping & Sheds can improve its products and innovate.

New Leaf has continuously supported its Kickstarters, and when one candidate was struggling to get to the office and various sites due to a lack of transport, the company used the funding from the scheme to pay for a Kickstarter’s full motorbike license, giving him the transport needed to get to work and grow.

The Kickstarts at the company have now become an integral part of the business, and having their wages subsidised by the Kickstart scheme has allowed New Leaf Landscaping & Sheds to take on staff and gain valuable employees at a time where much of the world and employers were struggling.

The company not only believes that Kickstart benefits businesses, but also believes in the scheme’s potential to reduce the level of unemployment in the age group that the scheme is aimed towards.

New Leaf believes that the scheme gives those highly capable individuals with less qualifications and experience an opportunity to open the conversation regarding employment with businesses that otherwise wouldn’t have been looking to hire them.

Dawn Dines

Kyle, Georgie and Frankie

SOS Global

SOS Global is a not-for-profit social enterprise dedicated to spreading awareness and educating people on the issues that young people face today such as knife crime, gender dysphoria and drink spiking. It also distributes anti-spiking products such as the ‘Nightcap’, and has sold more than two million units.

The company has employed four Kickstarters, three of whom are still working there today – Kyle, Georgie and Frankie.

When their Kickstart experience began, Dawn Dines, owner of SOS Global, was looking to build a team of enthusiastic, driven young people to support the organisation in its goals.

She ensured the success of these employees thanks to funded training courses through Cosmic and Exeter Connect, as well as regular progress meetings to ensure they were on the right track.

Dawn also ensured that her team were as close-knit as possible, having regular team meals and activities to celebrate success and build those working relationships.

Since joining the organisation the Kickstarters have flourished, with Kyle, Georgie and Frankie continuing to improve through training and their close-up mentoring from Dawn, who is currently training Kyle personally in his role which led to him being crowned Employee of the Year for 2021.

Dawn’s Kickstarters have demonstrated that with support from their employer, young people on the Kickstart scheme can flourish and be part of a professional team while also supporting each other on a personal level – something Dawn believes is key to building a successful, fulfilling company.

Organisations like SOS are a great example of how young people can get into a role that benefits the wider community as well as building their skills in the workplace, making professional connections and improving their employability during a trying time for employers and young people.

Roseanna (SWBSS)


South West Business Support Solutions

Roseanna started her Kickstart placement with South West Business Support Solutions (SWBSS) in April 2021 as an administrative assistant.

During her placement, Roseanna learned on the job by shadowing more experienced employees within the company, and she also had regular meetings with management to monitor her progress and ensure that improvements were being made.

The shadowing of other employees, regular meetings with management and the support from her team allowed Roseanna to improve on many things such as her confidence, administrative skills and her ability to work on a team.

By the end of her placement, Roseanna had made significant progress and SWBSS decided to take her on as a part-time worker. Roseanna says the experience has allowed her to flourish in a working environment, alleviating her fear of meeting new people, and setting her up with the skills she needs to succeed in future employment. She believes that the scheme would be beneficial to other young people looking for work, allowing them to open up in a working environment and learn new skills.

Roseanna is a classic example of the Kickstart scheme aiding in the development of a young person’s skills and confidence.

bthechange logo


bthechange CIC

William started his Kickstart journey with bthechange CIC in April 2021 as a research and evaluation assistant. During this time, he worked under the supervision of other employees at bthechange and received training from other workers in the company. He also had regular meetings to support his progress and ensure he was on the right track.

William’s skills continued to improve during the course of his Kickstart placement and eventually he was given training on how to write the applications for grant funding for bthechange, which improved his writing skills as well as his knowledge of how CIC’s secure grant funding.

At the end of his placement, William was offered a full-time research and evaluation role with bthechange which he accepted. He is now flourishing in his role and continues to impress the senior members of bthechange CIC.

Businesses like bthechange continue to empower young people, and give them the experience they need to flourish in the working world through the Kickstart scheme.


Dez Keehn

Devon & Plymouth Chamber of Commerce

Dez started his Kickstart placement with the Devon & Plymouth Chamber in September 2021 as Administration Assistant for the Kickstart scheme. Prior to working on this placement, he was unemployed and had never experienced working in a formal setting.

As part of his role, Dez became a point of contact for employers, responding to email queries and answering phones, as well as making sure records are kept through excel spreadsheets. He was given regular training on the different processes that were required to facilitate the Kickstart scheme by senior administrators of the scheme such as how to submit job descriptions, the terms and conditions of the scheme, and how to respond to employer queries.

Throughout the placement, Dez’s communication skills improved greatly, effectively conversing with various employers on the Kickstart scheme, as well as contacts at the DWP and different Job Centres. As he continued to improve, he was trusted to go into the Job Centre to conduct interviews on behalf of some Kickstart employers and help to give those who were in a similar position to him, the same opportunity he had to flourish and progress in the working world.

Dez also began to get more involved in other projects of the Chamber, assisting in the 30 Under 30 campaign and awards ceremony. During this time, he was trusted with ensuring records of attendees were accurately kept, as well as talking with potential sponsors and securing their sponsorship.

Dez credits the placement for improving his life overall and, through the Chamber, he has gained the appropriate skills and experience to continue his journey of progression through the working world and become a real asset to future employers.

Tools and resources

Young Person's Kickstart Guide

What Is Kickstart? Find out more in this handy guide from the Youth Employment UK team.

What Kickstart Can Offer You

Get valuable experience and extra support to boost your future job and career prospects.

Find a Kickstart Job

Search for thousands of Kickstart jobs in the UK through ‘Find a Job’ on the DWP website.

Watch: What is Kickstart?

This informative video from the DWP answers the most commonly-asked Kickstart questions.

British Chambers of Commerce

Find out how the BCC can help individuals and businesses access the Kickstart Scheme.

UK Government Support

More information from the Goverment about the Kickstart Scheme and what it can offer you.

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