“The scheme is designed to develop well rounded, qualified and capable individuals who bring real value to the organisations they work for,” explains Claire Palmer, Kick Start Co-ordinator, Securitas UK. “Companies can use it to create new six-month job placements for people aged 16-24 who are on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment. The aim is to give them the skills and experience they need to find work after completing the scheme.”
The government funds the recruits for a 25-hour week with extra finance available for support and training. Our goal is to create places for around 60 young people, across the business. “It’s a worthwhile initiative,” says Palmer, “the pandemic has de-railed many young peoples’ plans so we’re delighted to help rebuild their self-belief and optimism.”
Covering every aspect
Over six-months, each Kick Start recruit follows a structured programme that combines online modules with on the job training. The programme covers both work and life skills, so as well as department-specific training the recruits also cover topics such as CV preparation and interview techniques.
Roles vary, but there are currently ‘Kick Starters’ working in Operational Support, HR, Admin and some are even undergoing SIA training to become professionally qualified security officers.
Mentors on board
Each recruit has a mentor who oversees their development through regular reviews and informal catch-ups. Gary Keating, Port Security Manager, Securitas UK is one of these mentors and says it’s time well spent. “The benefit to mentors is that if the mentee is retained by Securitas at the end of their six month placement, the mentor gets a team member that they’ve developed. It’s also very rewarding to be doing something so positive, I’d definitely recommend the mentoring role to other managers.”
An ideal candidate
Keating is mentoring 21-year old Graham Leslie, who heard about the Kick Start Scheme via Universal Credit. “I didn't know Securitas, but I did some research before my interview and got really excited about the possibility of working here” Leslie says.
“His enthusiasm came over clearly in the interview” confirms Keating, “and he’s continued to make a great impression – in fact, even before he started working with us he took it upon himself to do some of our online training modules, so he really hit the ground running.”
Working in Operational Support, Leslie quickly found himself putting the online Excel training module to good use, “Before I did the course I’d never touched a spreadsheet” he explains, “and now I’m handling them every day.”
Over the next few months Leslie will gain experience in other roles within Keating’s business area. “I’m particularly looking forward to working in The Shed”, he says, “that's where vehicles are searched so it’s a really hands on security role.” Would Leslie recommend Securitas to other young people looking for work? “Definitely. The team is so supportive, they all go above and beyond to help me – it’s a great place to work.”
Looking to the future
“Although we can’t guarantee jobs at the end of the six-month programme, wherever possible we hope to retain these young people,” says Palmer. “The scheme has attracted recruits who might not otherwise have thought about a career with Securitas, and that’s helping us to increase diversity and broaden the demographics of our workforce. It’s also resulted in us developing a pool of mentors within the business, so this Kick Start Scheme really is a win-win.”
*Source: ONS (2021)
All Kick Start Scheme vacancies are advertised via the Department of Work and Pensions website and Jobcentre, not via Securitas.
For more information visit www.gov.uk/government/collections/kickstart-scheme