A NEW board has been established to maximise the benefits and impacts of the Kickstart job creation scheme in Greater Manchester.

The GM Kickstart Board will include representatives from the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), the Employment Related Services Association (ERSA) and Jobcentre Plus (JCP), and will be chaired by Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) co-chair Mo Isap.

It aims to ensure that businesses of all sizes are able to access Kickstart funding, that young people are offered good quality, meaningful placements supplemented by training and careers support, and that placements are converted into permanent jobs.

The efforts of the board will complement other ongoing work and skills initiatives in Greater Manchester, including the Good Employment Charter and the Young Person’s Guarantee.

The Kickstart scheme, launched at the beginning of September as part of the government’s Plan for Jobs, provides funding for six-month job placements for young people aged between 16 and 24 who are currently claiming Universal Credit.

The funding available covers 100 per cent of the National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, as well as paying employer costs like National Insurance, for up to 250,000 job placements.

Employers recruiting more than 30 people as part of the scheme can submit a bid for funding directly online, while those looking to recruit fewer than 30 people can apply through a gateway organisation.

Applications for grants are now open, with the first roles expected to begin in November. The scheme runs until December 2021.

Greater Manchester LEP co-chair Mo Isap said: “The Kickstart scheme can help us achieve a jobs-rich recovery in Greater Manchester, but its delivery needs to be underpinned by consistency, quality and clarity.

“Establishing the GM Kickstart Board is a way of ensuring the programme is steered by, and works for the benefit of, Greater Manchester businesses and young people.

“Working with our partners, we can provide a quality standard for placements that both employers and our young people can trust.”

Elizabeth Taylor, chief executive at ERSA said: “As the membership body of employment support organisations, ERSA is collaborating in Great Manchester to ensure young people and businesses maximise the opportunities of Kickstart.

“ERSA is working to ensure all young people have access to Kickstart if it is right for them, that there is pre-employment support, good jobs, with support, training, and development for positive outcomes. Employers should be reassured that if they create Kickstart jobs in GM there is the collaboration to make Kickstart a success.”