YOUNG workers “scarred by Coronavirus” need to be back in the office to help their careers flourish, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has warned.
In an exclusive sit-down with four budding Sun journalists on the Government’s Kickstart jobs scheme, he said working from home makes it harder for recruits to learn skills.
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The £2billion Kickstart programme hopes to create 250,000 six-month work places for under-25s on universal credit. The taxpayer pays the age-relevant national minimum wage, national insurance and pension contributions for 25 hours a week, while the apprentices also get qualifications.
The Sun currently has four Kickstart apprentices, who met Mr Sunak in his offices to discuss the challenges of starting a job in the pandemic.
‘MEET YOUR MENTORS’
He said: “Early in your career, you’re finding it imperative to go out there, meet your mentors and establish careers . . . all easier when in [the office] rather than on Skype.”
He added that Kickstart is designed for a uniquely tough jobs market. But he said: “We didn’t want this perceived to be, ‘Oh gosh, nothing else worked for me so I’m going to do this government scheme’. We wanted this to be aspirational.
“At your age, you want to get as many career experiences as possible and get on a path, and that’s what this is designed to do at a time when, sadly, the economy is suffering and lots of people have lost their jobs. We needed to do something radical. All of you deserve a fantastic start in life.”
Our four interns who met the Chancellor tell what the Kickstart scheme means to them . . .
George Moore, 24, Sport intern
“When I was made redundant due to Covid, I felt completely disillusioned with my prospects. But being on Kickstart means I’ll be able to bounce back, and all of us hope to be appealing candidates to future employers.”
Sante Koranteng, 23, with the Fabulous fashion team
“I am not a university graduate and most internships only want graduates, so I’m glad Kickstart does not discriminate. It’s brilliant I get paid, too, while also enriching my CV and portfolio at the same time.”
Oonagh Baker, 22, helping our Fabulous fashion team
“The breadth of opportunities on Kickstart meant I was able to find something that is right for me. Like a quarter of a million other young people, I will be able to get started on a career I can see myself in long term.”
Yasmin Choudhury, 21, on TV and Showbiz
“As a young Bengali woman, I believe Kickstart is essential in helping young people of colour, who are particularly hard hit by unemployment. It’s been a lifeline and will give me vital skills and experience.”
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