KickStart, the innovative work placement programme created by Kilkenny LEADER Partnership (KLP) has, from its 26 placements in the county had 6 unemployed people being directly offered jobs by their placement sponsors, with two further people moving on to national internship programmes.
This 30% front-line appointment rate is only part of the success of KickStart which has effectively linked the needs of local business to the skills of local people and led to much better targeting of the unemployed workforce with the employment opportunities in Kilkenny.
KickStart which emerged from the Kilkenny Employability Strategy’ and focuses on linking local companies and job-seekers on short-term placements who undertake to carry out specific work while getting industry-relevant training in sectors that have employment potential. KickStart has been a phenomenal success in 2012 and KLP has announced a further fifty places for 2013 to include two programmes in Kilkenny and one in Ferrybank. The proposed commencement date for Kilkenny is the 18th February with additional programmes scheduled for May and September.
The programme has given the first two groups of participant’s confidence and hands-on experience which greatly boost their chances of finding work. In 2012, out of the orignal twenty five participants six have secured full time employment while two others have progressed to the national internship programme. An example of how KickStart works for participants is that one candidate from the last group has secured a job bridge placement with a top Kilkenny architectural firm which offers invaluable experience within his chosen sector. Another participant, with a strong admin background having proven herself on placement, has progressed to work with Gaeltec Utilities. Given the outcomes for the programme, KLP’s Assistant CEO,Martin Rafter stated “It is up to us now to throw the net a little wider, get more businesses involved, and link people back into employment.”
KickStart works for jobseekers of all ages, for those with a long work history and those who need experience. According to Ann-Marie Mc Sorley trainer on the programme: “KickStart, can for example work for someone who is mid-career and has a wealth of experience but lacks skills currently required by industry. We link them with businesses which need a project done and we create a customised course of project-led training to help the participant complete that project successfully. KickStart works for our participants and it also works for employers.”
For employers, the benefit of this work placement programme is that each individual is matched specifically to their project need and relevant training put in place to ensure the participant is ready to “hit the ground running”. Kilkenny hotelier and businessman John Ryan is one of the dozen employers who participated in the first phase of KickStart. “We are delighted to support KickStart. It is a very focused and tailored initiative that trains participants for a specific job opportunity and gives them the best possible opportunity of securing work. I’d encourage more employers to get to know more about the scheme and to see how we can help it,” he said.