A business club that has helped solo and micro business owners connect with others by offering training and support has revved up its regional profile by becoming a Gateway Provider for the Government’s Kickstart Scheme.
Consett ex-teacher, Nicola Jayne Little formed MINT Business Club just over three years ago and is now helping businesses across the North East employ young people as part of a £2 billion scheme. The Kickstart Scheme is dedicated to creating high-quality, fully funded, six-month work placements for young people aged 16-24 who are on Universal Credit and are deemed to be at risk of long-term unemployment.
In the last three months, MINT has placed 25 young people into jobs across Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, Durham, and Northumberland with that figure due to double by the Autumn.
“Our role is to make it easy for businesses to access the Kickstart Scheme,“ said Nicola Jayne. “With our previous experience of supporting businesses, we are in an ideal position to offer guidance, practical support and advice from our dedicated team of experts.”
Indeed, MINT helps by doing all the paperwork and finding the ideal Kickstarter to match the needs of the business. As well as offering practical support to the employer throughout the placement and high-quality, vocational training to the Kickstarter.
Nicola Jayne’s enthusiasm for the scheme is evident: “It’s just MINT to be helping so many 16 to 24-year-olds find exciting employment and training opportunities to kickstart them on their career paths. We’re also very excited to offer business owners the opportunity to grow their business with that much-needed extra pair of hands – without it costing them a penny.”
South Shields seamstress Aimee Veitch, from Corsetry and Couture, was one of the first to take on a Kickstarter through MINT. Aimee’s bespoke bridalwear business was flourishing but it hit difficult times when the Covid pandemic struck. Aimee knew she wanted to come back fighting in 2021 and decided it was time to take on her first employee.
“Our Kickstarter, Sami is brilliant. From the first day, he has fitted in so well and has transformed our social media communications,” says Aimee. “The initial six-month placement was very low risk to me, and it was fully funded by the Government too. The support from MINT Business Club has been incredible. They have helped with all the contracts and things I was unsure about when taking on my first employee. This was a big leap for my business, and I’m delighted at how well it’s working out.”
Any Limited Company or Community Interest Company with up to 50 employees can apply for the Kickstart support from MINT. Another business that has just taken on a young person is Spanner Monkeys, a specialist motor vehicle repairer in Byker. They have recruited Elias Foster.
Director Peter Ellis from the firm said: “We were looking for an apprentice and had more than 200 applications. Through that process we realised how many were in the same position as Elias, part qualified, with some experience and let go by employers due to the pandemic. We had heard of Kickstart through the Mint Business Club and decided to enquire if this would work for us. It meant that we could take the risk of another member of staff, to see if it’ll work for us. If things keep up pace, we will be able to take Elias on in September when Kickstart finishes.”
“When I started MINT just three years ago, I never thought that we would be responsible for changing the lives of so many young people and the businesses that they are placed with. It’s a MINT feeling to know that we have kickstarted the prospects of so many people,” said Nicola Jayne.
For more information firstname.lastname@example.org
To find out more about the Kickstart Scheme
visit the MINT website www.mintbusinessclub.co.uk/kickstart-gateway/