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Opportunities for young workers as council steers funding bid

todayMarch 18, 2021 5

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A scheme to provide new jobs for the young unemployed is gaining momentum in North Yorkshire with a wide range of options being thrown open to those in the 16 to 24 age range.

The Kickstart scheme is a national initiative, championed by Chancellor of the Exchequer and Richmond MP Rishi Sunak, designed to set young people on the road to fulfilling careers through six-month job placements.

In North Yorkshire, the County Council has stepped in, taking on the co-ordination and provision of employability support for small businesses and charities.

Those recruited will go on to work with a wide range of organisations, including the authority itself, and a diverse range of options are already stacking up.

So far, 45 employers want to offer a total of 208 roles, with the County Council making another 30 roles available, giving a total of 238 new job placements.

While some of those roles will sound comfortably familiar to applicants, others are offering an opportunity to pursue careers which might, otherwise, be more challenging to access.

They include Dream Heritage, which wants new community heritage experts to help galvanise communities into looking after their own assets – while picking up some of the vital skills themselves.

Opportunity to Kickstart careers in North Yorkshire’s heritage sector

Job placements can provide the foundations of rewarding careers needing skills learned on the job rather than in the classroom.

They can also provide a route into unusual and fascinating careers, which is exactly what Dream Heritage is offering with an opportunity for two North Yorkshire Kickstarters to join the not-for-profit organisation.

The community heritage workers will learn the basic skills involved in helping to keep buildings and monuments at the heart of the county’s towns and villages, along with more specialist skills such as restoring traditional lime mortar.

Under a partnership with the County Council, the new workers will be recruited under the Government’s Kickstart scheme, but employed through Dream Heritage.

The arrangement brings together two sets of advantages, in helping to progress the work of the organisation in mobilising communities to look after their own heritage assets, while providing work for two people.

While the arrangement is for six months, there is a hope that those involved could go on to longer-term careers in the heritage sector.

Project leader at Dream Heritage, Rebecca Watkins, said their aim was to involve communities in the restoration and care of the buildings and monuments that are important to them, to leave a lasting relationship.

Experience had shown that where outside specialists simply moved in to complete work and then left, the impact on communities was often short lived.

Instead, Dream Heritage sets out to involve locals so they feel a connection to the finished project, with a sense of ownership, which spurs them into continuing maintenance work into the future.

The formula has already been used successfully in other areas of the UK, such as in County Durham where the ruins of a medieval manor house have been restored by the local community and are looked after now by the local volunteer group. More locally, Dream Heritage have been involved in equipping and empowering local people to be involved in looking after their own area, helping resource the Goole litter picking group and lead heritage days at the parish church in Drax.

Now Dream hopes to repeat the process on another historic building, the Hawdon Institute in Selby. The Edwardian community building was gifted to Selby Abbey but needs restoration work to make it into a more useable, accessible and attractive space.

It is hoped the Hawdon will become a community centre/hub and by getting residents involved the objective is to leave them with an asset they will want to care for when the Dream Heritage team moves on elsewhere.

This and similar community heritage projects will provide the opportunities for the new Kickstarters to learn their skills, with the potential for longer-lasting careers as a result of that early training and experience.

Rebecca said the aim of Dream Heritage was to use the local natural and historic environment as a catalyst to spark communities into action and get them involved, interested and invested in their local area.

“There is an environmental goal in the preservation of important landmarks,” she said. “We say it is the community which can bring about change; we don’t want to just fly in, do an amazing project on an old church or ruin and then just leave.”

Dream Heritage will provide training in areas including gardening skills and heritage management, such as repairing roofs and ensuring guttering is kept clear and free flowing, alongside more niche skills such as conserving ruins.

“We want to train local people in these skills,” she said.

Dream Heritage works across the country and has its headquarters in Booth, East Yorkshire, but is heavily involved in projects within North Yorkshire, with Drax church also among those getting attention, being located within the county where the Kickstarters are expected to work.

North Yorkshire will help with the funding application process, recruitment process, providing the new recruits with employability support and support through the lifetime of the placement

If anyone is interested in volunteering with Dream Heritage or any of the community projects mentioned here, including donating time, skills, equipment and help towards the restoration of these places, do get in touch directly at dreamheritagecic@gmail.com , visit their website: https://dreamheritage.co.uk/ , or follow them on Facebook @DREAMCIC

Also Friends of Friarage (hospital) wants a communications assistant who will have the chance to help re-invent the charity’s image. Other roles include a junior data analyst, dispensing assistant and pupil academic mentor.

Job placement scheme offers charity opportunity to adapt for future

A North Yorkshire charity is planning to take advantage of the Kickstart job placement scheme to help make sure its image is kept fresh and relevant to new generations of the county’s residents.

Friends of the Friarage is a charity with more than six decades of history, helping to support Northallerton’s Friarage Hospital and health service throughout Hambleton and Richmondshire and over 65 years has contributed more than £5m from fund raising work.

Now they are hoping to employ a communications assistant to help ensure messages about their work and the benefits the organisation brings to the district are clearly understood as the 21st Century progresses – with the added advantage of creating new work in the area.

Friends of Friarage have been able to press ahead with the idea through a collaboration with the County Council, which has taken on the recruitment process.

The job will be advertised shortly and if a suitable candidate is found, they will be employed for six months under the scheme. It is possible a permanent role may follow.

Susan Watson, co-chair of Friends of the Friarage, said: “Although we have been around for so long and have a successful track record, these days not many people know much about us.

“We realised we needed to improve our communications and raise awareness of the charity if we are going to continue successfully.”

It is hoped the charity’s branding and logo will get some attention as part of the new assistant’s work.

Dr Tony Walters, co-chair of the charity, said: “We are going through a rebranding exercise to move into the 21st Century. We know charities are going to suffer because of the situation we are in, worldwide. We need to make sure people are aware of who we are.”

It is expected the new position will help the charity improve its presence on social media to help broaden its audience.

On a practical level, the scheme offers good-quality jobs with pay, over six months, through the Department of Work and Pensions.

North Yorkshire is acting as a ‘gateway’ organisation, providing support for the Kickstart funding applications, the recruitment process, employability support to the new recruits and an ongoing commitment to offer support through the lifespan of the placement.

All employers can apply, including private businesses, charities and community organisations.

Successful applicants will receive the funding needed to cover the applicant’s wages to the equivalent of the National Minimum Wage that applies to their age group, for 25 hours a week over six months.

Employers will have the option of funding a higher rate of pay, or more hours, at their own expense.

A one-off grant of £1,500 will also be provided to help to establish each Kickstart employee in their new role and provide the support they will need.

Mr Sunak announced the scheme last summer as part of the Government’s Plan for Jobs, when it became clear the coronavirus pandemic would have a negative impact on job prospects, particularly for young people.

When he launched the scheme, Mr Sunak said: “We know young people have been some of the hardest hit by the pandemic and unemployment can have longstanding implications for their future jobs and wages.

“The Kickstart scheme is part of the biggest pack of support for young unemployed people in decades and also offers employers a fully-funded opportunity to find the young people who will help drive their businesses in future.”

Cllr Andrew Lee, Executive Member for Business and Economic Development,

said: “This is a great scheme which provides real benefits to both young people in North Yorkshire and the companies and other organisations which operate here.

“The offer has been well-received and it is satisfying to see so many different job opportunities emerging. Kickstart gives a guarantee of six months’ work and that will hopefully lead to extended careers in at least some cases.

“All those involved will have new skills, improved levels of experience and a great addition to their CV by the time the scheme is completed.”

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