An Ipswich housekeeping and home cleaning service is encouraging more local SMEs to take advantage of the government’s Kickstart Scheme having recruited the 100th live Kickstart placement organised through Suffolk Chamber of Commerce.

Launched last summer, Kickstart is a £2 billion fund set up by the Government to create hundreds of thousands of high quality six-month work placements. It is aimed at those aged 16 to 24 who are on Universal Credit and are deemed to be at risk of long term unemployment.

Suffolk Chamber of Commerce teamed up with Suffolk County Council, the county’s FE colleges, New Anglia LEP and the borough and district councils to form the Suffolk Gateway Partnership (SGP) to support local organisations wanting to apply to this landmark Government scheme.

Since then, over 640 placements have been approved through the SGP for funding, with dozens more in the pipeline.

A significant milestone was reached recently when Bright & Beautiful Ipswich recruited Rosie Bignell, one of their two Kickstarters, who happened to be the 100th live placement made through Suffolk Chamber.

Alison Chilvers, owner of the company said: “We’re delighted to have partnered with Suffolk Chamber of Commerce to provide two Kickstart placements for trainee housekeepers.Rosie has made an excellent start at Bright & Beautiful. Emma, her mentor and training supervisor has been so pleased with how Rosie has taken up the challenge at learning what most people don’t realise is a very difficult profession to master.

 “We train all of our housekeepers to hotel standard and this can take a good few months, Rosie and our first placement Heidi, have risen to the challenge and they are lovely additions to the team”.

Whilst on placement, Rosie and Heidi will learn different aspects of the services provided by the company and her mentor and team leaders will help her develop her wider skills to prepare her for her next stage of work.

Alison added: “Being able to create jobs in the current climate has been one of the things I love about our business. We provide a professional service and all of our housekeepers are trained to the highest standards. Both Rosie and Heidi are learning a range of skills through the placement scheme and we hope they want to stay beyond their six months with us”.

Emma Alderton, Suffolk Chamber’s Kickstart co-ordinator, said:  “As one of the longest established and most successful Kickstart gateways in the country, we are really well placed to work with businesses to ensure that they get approval from the Department for Work & Pensions for their placements. In fact, all of our recent batches of applications have been approved for funding!”

And Paul Simon, Suffolk Chamber’s head of policy & communications, added: “Hearing from employers like Alison and Kickstarters such as Rosie is inspirational and shows how the scheme can help local businesses train up their staff of the future and give our young people a positive start to their working lives.”

Businesses wishing to apply for Kickstart placements via Suffolk Chamber should email Emma Alderton: emma:suffolkchamber.co.uk