The UK Government’s more jobs strategy kicks into action


THERE’S no doubt that Covid-19 has hurt our economy and cost us jobs, and it can be hard to see the bright side of life some days.

But hope is just around the corner in the form of the UK Government’s Plan for Jobs, three initatives designed to get people back into work: the Kickstart scheme, the New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) and the Sector-based Work Academy Programme (SWAP).

Situations vacant … at Halo, Portakabin and In The Welsh Wind Distillery

Based in York, Portakabin is one of the businesses that has joined the Kickstart scheme to help give young people get a leg-up into work.

“We joined as we thought it was a chance to build on our existing apprenticeships,” says HR director Amanda Stainton.

Amanda has seen job prospects for youngsters in areas like hospitality and retail disappear due to the pandemic. She says: “We don’t want to see them get left behind.”

Portakabin is hoping to welcome 30 people aged 16-24 onto the scheme, and there will be a variety of jobs available to successful applicants.

“There are lots of opportunities here within manufacturing, marketing, IT, HR and in our commercial teams,” Amanda says.

“We’ll be running programmes on CV writing and interview techniques, which will give candidates an extra set of skills.

“It’s really important that we don’t have people joining us to just make the tea – we want them to come out of this with some real achievements to put on their CVs.

“A couple of our senior managers started on similar schemes, so we’ve got a good track record of creating real opportunities.”

Alice O’Sullivan, 23, agrees. She joined Portakabin’s business information systems team through the Kickstart scheme.

“After graduating with a degree in IT and data science, I looked for a job that would complement my studies, and came across the Kickstart placement at Portakabin,” she says.

Alice O’Sullivan was excited to take advantage of the Kickstart project

“As I still wasn’t sure which specific area of IT I wanted to work in, it was perfect for me, because I could gain experience across a number of areas.”

Halo, an urban regeneration project based in Scotland, has also joined Kickstart.

“We’ve created 200 training placements for young people,” says founder Marie Macklin.

“Training with the UK Government scheme lasts for six months, and we’ve added on another six months.

“The scheme is very useful, especially as we’re an urban regeneration company trying to give something back to areas with challenging economic conditions. We need to give young people a road to recovery.”

In The Welsh Wind Distillery, on the west coast of Wales, has five full-time employees, and is taking on four Kickstart recruits.

“We think we can offer a young person a good insight into every aspect of the business,” says owner Ellen Wakelam.

“We can show them the technical side of distilling, as well as bottling, labelling, customer service and marketing. Equally, if there’s a specific area they want to learn more about, we will try to accommodate that.

“One of the drivers for setting up a business here was to offer employment opportunities for local young people. We are able to offer new roles that will give people experience and transferable skills, and we’re really excited about that.”


Job’s a good ’un … there are opportunities to gain experience in a wide variety of industries

Kickstart scheme

A six-month job with a local employer paid for by the UK Government. It provides a fully funded opportunity for young people to gain work experience. The Kickstart scheme is open to people aged 16-24 who are claiming Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment.

Sector-based work academy programme (SWAP)

An opportunity for jobseekers claiming Universal Credit, Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)

or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) to build their confidence in a new line of work, gain work experience, and enhance their CV.

New Enterprise Allowance (NEA)

Provides money and support to help people receiving certain benefits (including Universal Credit, JSA and ESA) to start their own business. Support includes a mentor and a weekly allowance worth up to £1,274 over 26 weeks.

Head to for all the information you need about the support available to you.