Midlands water and waste company Severn Trent, which employs 6,700 people, will take on a further 500 people over the next year as part of the government’s Kickstart incentive.
The placements, lasting for six months and covering 25 hours a week, will offer a range of roles, including water technicians, engineering assistants, customer liaison, project management and support function roles in Finance, HR and Communications, typical of any large business. Alongside the on the job training, Severn Trent is also offering training in a variety of personal and technical skills at its new academy, based in Coventry.
Liv Garfield, Severn Trent Chief Executive, said: “This is a simply brilliant incentive and, after looking at it, we just knew we could support many, many people who might otherwise be at risk of simply not being able to get back into the workforce.
“We’re absolutely certain we’ll find a load of really talented people who, at the very least, will leave us with a range of new skills they might be able to put to use with other employers. We’re also pretty certain we’ll end up with a number of new colleagues who’ll have impressed so much during their placement we absolutely had to take them on full-time.
“Given everything that’s happening at the moment, this is one of the key ways we, as a responsible company, can help make a real difference to our customers and our communities. It’s a real opportunity for us, let alone for the Kickstarters.”
West Berkshire County Council, which employs more than 1,550 people across the region, has also committed to take on 60 Kickstart placements.
Abigail Witting, HR Manager at the council said: “Both the Kickstart scheme and the incentives for new apprentices are positive for businesses.
“The Kickstart scheme enables businesses to take on an individuals to support with the impact of the COVID crisis, as well as supporting young people who are being disadvantaged by the impact on the economy and jobs with minimal risk/cost to the business. Following a successful placement, businesses may be able to take on a new member of staff that they previously wouldn’t have had opportunity to recruit.
“The incentive payments for new apprentices provide businesses with some funding when they are facing difficult times, to help support the inevitable costs of inducting and training a new staff member, and the associated costs including salaries or equipment.”
Accessing the Kickstart incentive, totalling £37,500, will enable West Berkshire Council to support its proposed, long term apprenticeship strategy. The Council hopes to convert successful Kickstart placements into apprenticeships at the end of the placements.