WSA & Acorn Recruitment announce KickStart Scheme.

The Welsh Sports Association (WSA) are excited to announce that members can now apply for the Government funded KickStart scheme. Working with our partners Acorn Recruitment, the WSA’s aim is to get 100 young people onto the employment ladder and hopefully on the path to a successful future. The scheme will also help support member organisations at a time when many are feeling considerable financial and operational strains.  

As happens in most economic downturns, it is young people who are often hardest hit in terms of immediate job losses and future employment prospects. Sectors that have been particularly hard hit by the pandemic, such as hospitality, leisure and retail have traditionally been mainstays for youth employment. These sectors also allow young people to develop valuable transferable skills and experiences that aid them in future careers.   

Speaking about the scheme, Victoria Ward WSA Chief Executive Officer said;

“We’re delighted to continue our successful partnership with Acorn by delivering the kickstart scheme in the sport sector. There’s a real opportunity for sporting organisations to use this opportunity to start the process of building back better. 

“Seizing the opportunity to deliver employment for young people, and helping the Government fulfil their aims will help the sector over the coming years. Sport and recreation can and should put itself at the heart of the recovery.” 

“The WSA will also be looking to make use of the scheme, with the aim of taking on apprenticeships too. These roles will help us deliver increased and improved services to members over the coming months.” 

Lewis Fawsitt, Director at Acorn Recruitment said;

“It’s fantastic that Acorn can further strengthen our partnership with the WSA, so the organisation and its membership can take full advantage of the kickstart scheme and access it through the dedicated Acorn kickstart delivery team.  

In what continues to be a very challenging period in the sports sector, this presents a golden opportunity to assist with the re-building of sports organisations and to help continue the efforts to improve sport at an elite and community grass roots level, as well as helping to improve the health and well-being of the nation.” 

What is Kickstart? 

The £2billion job creation scheme has been created in to help ‘kickstart’ the careers of those at most risk of being ‘left behind’ by Covid.  

Employers who are successful in their application will receive funding for six month work placements for 16-24 year olds currently claiming Universal Credit. The Government will pay for 100% of the age-relevant minimum wage, including National Insurance and pension contributions, for 25 hours a week over the full placement period.  

Applications for the scheme have begun and will be open until the end of March 2021 initially.   

How the WSA scheme will work  

The WSA will facilitate the scheme alongside their colleagues at Acorn Recruitment, who will be acting as the Gateway Organisation between the Department of Work and Pensions and WSA members. Based on the needs, role descriptions and person specification of members – Acorn will make an application for funding on their behalf and liaise with the DWP to return a shortlist of potential candidates for selection and interview.  

Throughout the placement period Acorn will continue to support the employee by offering additional training and development that will aid them in securing sustained employment at end of placement. There is of course nothing preventing members from taking on the employee on a full-time basis at the end of the six months!  

The WSA will also provide further training opportunities through its other partners in order to equip each employee with as many tools as possible to help them succeed.  

Benefits of the scheme 

The Kickstart scheme offers an opportunity for organisations to increase capacity during this exceptionally challenging period. As well as the obvious wage contributions, the scheme offers numerous potential benefits for both employer and employees. Such as;  

  • Simplicity and Savings – Much of the work involved and costs thereof, including the application admin; recruitment; and the drawing down of funds, will be dealt with by Acorn Recruitment as the Gateway Organisation.  
  • Flexibility – Upon a successful application for funds, there is a twelve month window in which the placement can take place.  
  • Productivity – As with apprenticeships, the introduction of diverse and motivated employees has been proven to have a hugely positive impact on an organisation and its workforce. 
  • Future – An opportunity to develop and nurture the next generation working in sport and leisure, some of whom will hopefully become future leaders within the sector! 

Purpose of the scheme  

The scheme clearly has big advantages in terms of increasing capacity and helping those who are in desperate need of support. However, it is important to note that whilst funding is to be granted for the purpose of providing new jobs, those jobs cannot replace existing or planned vacancies; or cause existing employees, apprentices or contractors to lose work or reduce their working hours.  

Members wishing to find out more can visit the dedicated Acorn webpage where they can register their interest and ask any initial questions they may have about the scheme.  A member of the team will get back in touch shortly after to discuss and gather all of the necessary information before proceeding to submit an application.   

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