ACS (the Association of Convenience Stores) has responded to a consultation on the Kickstart Scheme, making a number of recommendations for how the Department for Work and Pensions can support job creation in the convenience sector.
The Kickstart Scheme provides retailers with funding to create new job placements and training for 16–24-year-olds on Universal Credit and deemed at risk of long-term unemployment.
ACS’ submission makes a number of key recommendations:
Consistent turnaround times for DWP administration and feedback on applications for funding
- A more proactive DWP role to foster and encourage effective local partnerships for jobs between retailers, candidates and training providers.
- Adapting employer resources for different business audiences
- Findings from ACS’ Voice of Local Shops Survey in April show that 16% of retailers were participating in the scheme, 24 per cent had applied but not yet started placements and 20% would be interested in offering opportunities.
“Convenience stores provide local, secure and flexible employment opportunities to hundreds of thousands of people across the UK and the introduction of the Kickstart Scheme has supported job creation in the sector,” said ACS chief executive James Lowman.
“In our submission, we are calling for the DWP to work to foster local partnerships between employers, candidates and training providers. With these changes, the scheme should be used as a template to inform future job creation initiatives.”
Retailers wishing to participate must apply for funding by 17th December and arrange placement start dates by 31st March 2022.
More information about the Kickstart Scheme, including guidance for employers, can be found here.