Employment scheme gives Chris the Kickstart he needed

A young man from near Whithorn has secured a full-time role as a carpenter thanks to the support of the UK Government’s Kickstart scheme.

Thursday, 26th August 2021, 11:57 am
Chris Partridge is helping to restore Whithorn's eighth century church

Kickstart is a £2bn fund aimed at that those aged 16-24 who are on Universal Credit (UC) and at risk of long-term unemployment.

Eligible employers receive a grant worth £1,500 to cover set up costs and employability support.

Chris Partridge (22), whose dyspraxia affects his coordination and movement, had been claiming UC while he struggled to find a job.

He is now part of a team of five Kickstart participants hired by The Whithorn Trust, working to restore the eighth century church in the village.

This has been life-changing for Chris and helped boost his confidence after a previous employment setback.

He said: “Living in Dumfries and Galloway is really tough when it comes to employment.

"I finally got a job as an apprentice joiner. They took me on, gave me very little training and then told me I was too slow, and not to bother coming back after a week or so.”

With the support of work coach Angela Cowan at Stranraer Jobcentre, he landed a full-time role in carpentry.

Angela helped Chris through the application process and explained what extra support would be available if he got the job.

Through the Kickstart scheme, the role will last for six months, setting him up with skills and experience to boost his job prospects for the future.

Chris added: “When I lost my apprenticeship, it made me feel really low.

"This job is much better, it’s about craftsmanship, not speed and the tutor Shaun is really patient and helps me with the structure of each activity or exercise.”

Julia Muir Watt, development manager at The Whithorn Trust said: “Chris is a quiet, thoughtful member of the team, who is often the first to volunteer for tasks.

"He is taking advantage of all the challenges we offer and the chance to meet specialists in different skills.”

Angela Cowan added: “Kickstart is good for work coaches too as it opens up new possibilities for young people that we haven’t been able to offer before.”

For more information visit gov.uk/government/collections/kickstart-scheme.