Sara’s Blog: Job news, Kickstart, and the Chamber Awards

As we welcome the fantastic news that a vaccine rollout by the end of the year is imminent, it is also heartening to see hard evidence of new local employment opportunities emerging.

Job opportunities in Staffordshire increased by 15 percent between September and October, equivalent to 2,500 vacancies, way above the national rate of 11 percent, and similar in number to vacancy levels pre-Covid.

There is immediate demand for roles health, social care, and distribution alongside clear emerging opportunities in digital, advanced manufacturing (AI and automation), construction and the green economy.

The government’s extended support for jobs through the furlough scheme and support for the self-employed has had also had a positive effect on jobs as has the Kickstart Scheme.

Any organisation, especially if applying for less than 30 Kickstart placements, needs to apply via a ‘Representative’ organisation such as the Chambers and businesses will be paid £1,500 towards the costs of taking on a 16- 24-year-old, on Universal Credit and deemed to be at risk of long-term unemployment. The government pays 25 hours at National Minimum Wage level for 6 months to the employer plus associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions. The £1,500 per job placement is available for setup costs, employability support and training and must be spent on supporting the young person with training to help them stand a better chance of further employment in the future.

Local Job Centres will receive job descriptions and work coaches will then encourage young people, who they feel would be best suited to those roles, to apply directly to business.

If you are thinking of taking someone on through the scheme, or having issues with employing staff, don’t forget we have a funded HR advisor and, in your Chambers. Membership, there is a brilliant HR service included. We also now have a great team of advisors in place offering fully funded advice on marketing, digital technology, and international trade as well as our busy team of start-up advisors and mentors. Therefore, whatever stage your business is at we can help you to get to the next level and to capitalise on the projected upturn in economic fortunes.

Finally, we are less than a week away from our special gala celebration evening celebration for the Staffordshire Chambers Business Awards. This year more than ever we want to highlight our local business heroes – businesses who have not only come through the pandemic but have innovated, adapted, diversified, helped their community and looked after the welfare of staff and customers.

We will be livestreaming the event from the New Vic Theatre from 6.30pm on Thursday 19th November. I do hope you can join in the celebrations by booking your place here:

If you want to talk to us about any business issues, you can call our switchboard on 01782 202222 or call the Stoke and Staffs Growth Hub Helpline on 0300 111 8002 or email

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