DWP secretary encourages businesses to sign up to Kickstart - as Walsall FC 'lead the way' with new roles

Black Country businesses have been urged to sign up to the Government's Kickstart scheme as seven young adults were taken on by Walsall FC.

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Thérèse Coffey, made the call as she visited Bescott Stadium along with West Midlands Mayor Andy Street on Thursday.

There she spoke with club staff and the trainees who were taken on as part of the scheme which aims to get thousands of young people into work.

Ms Coffey told the Express & Star: "I'd encourage businesses in the region to take part in the scheme and I am very keen to hear from employers.

"I know that the mayor, Andy Street, is also very keen to get more people involved in this opportunity.

"Our plan for jobs across the country isn't just about Kickstart - but this is really good way for young people to get experience and for employers to have no risk.

"The Government will pay for the salary and will also give money towards the training.

"It is that mutual benefit that I think will really help employers and young people."

The English Football League and its charitable trust is liasing with football clubs to take part in the scheme.

Ms Coffey said the Saddlers were "leading the way" in terms of football clubs taking part, adding: "Walsall has done really well. It is really impressive what they are doing."

Walsall FC are planning to sign up 20 young adults onto the scheme who will work in a variety of roles in different departments including media, coaching, grounds maintenance and commercial.

One of the Kickstart trainees is Jenson Jones, 20, from West Bromwich, who plays football in Sweden for IFK Mora.

He said: "I have come over here to get my coaching badges but I thought this would be a good experience."

Joseph Gomez, 19, from Lichfield, is training in digital and marketing. He said: "I create posts on social media and we put them out. It gives people to see what we are doing.

"I think the scheme is really good. It is my first proper time on a work environment because I have only just finished sixth form.

"It is a good experience in the workplace that I probably wouldn't have had otherwise."

West Midlands Mayor, Mr Street, added: "It is a brilliant scheme for youngsters to get a capability which they can use for the rest of their lives.

"Young people need to come forward to fill vacancies, and there are live vacancies at the moment, and employers need to come forward to think, could they take just one person on, that would be brilliant.

"Walsall are really leading the way but other clubs are emulating the scheme too, certainly Birmingham clubs and Coventry.

"For a club of this size, to have 20 Kickstarters, is a brilliant example really."

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