Network Rail takes on first cohort of placements as part of kickstart scheme

TWELVE young people have become the first to join Network Rail as part of the UK Government’s kickstart scheme.

The initiative, prompted by the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on young people, allows firms to receive funding to create job placements for 16-24 year olds on universal credit who are at risk of long-term unemployment.

The new starts at Network Rail will work across the business, including in project management, with the organisation keen to develop their skills and ensure that they gain valuable experience throughout. The organisation said it hopes to take on at least 100 kickstarters in total.

All employers participating in the scheme can apply for funding to cover 100% of the national minimum wage, or the national living wage depending on the age of the participant. However, Network Rail said it is voluntarily going further by paying kickstarters in line with the Living Wage Foundation.

Joe Guy, Network Rail’s HR director, talent and resourcing, said, “We are delighted to be taking part in the Kickstart scheme – investing in, and providing real opportunities for, young people at risk of long-term unemployment due to the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Through a combination of real on-the-job experience and high-quality training, we hope to make a real difference to the lives of our 100 applicants and boost their future employment opportunities, either at Network Rail or elsewhere.”

Minister for employment, Mims Davies MP, added, “It’s fantastic to see Network Rail brilliantly backing the Government’s Kickstart scheme – helping our next generation of workers to really get back on track and develop the key skills they need to thrive in work.

“This is still a challenging time, but right across the country our Plan for Jobs is creating opportunity, supporting people to retrain and getting jobseekers into work as we push to build back better – including in the rail sector.”