Sara’s Blog: Visit of Government Minister to Staffordshire Chambers

Sara’s blog – 2 April 2021

Visit of Government Minister to Staffordshire Chambers – and the next stage of recovery.

Earlier this week I had the pleasure to welcome Rt. Hon. Mims Davies, MP, Secretary of State for Employment to a round table discussion on Kickstart and helping young people into employment. Mims’ family comes from Stoke-on-Trent, so she has a real affinity with the city.

The meeting was arranged because the Kickstart programme, and building this into our businesses, is so important to the future of young people. It is an ambitious programme, aiming for 250,000 young people to be in six months employment via placements, available until December 2021, with the Government paying the wages.

Employers raised questions around making sure that the young people were getting the right training, both from the employers and training providers, to help with their employability skills. We talked about how businesses may be able to start advertising these jobs themselves and how they could work with the excellent youth charities we have across the city who can support young people in applying.

We also discussed how these businesses can be supported to amend their employment systems and contracts to take on a young person and how to develop links with colleges and training providers to offer a route into apprenticeships and full employment. Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire have an excellent partnership on skills through the Skills Advisory Panel and through the Staffordshire Partnership for Employability and Skill (SPES) and because of this, the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is keen to maximise the impact that Kickstart will have in the area and ensure young people have better opportunities for long-term employment.

The Minister paid tribute to the excellent work that the Chambers’ network across England are doing on Kickstart as they have already generated over 10 percent of the placements’ target.The Minister was extremely open and honest and welcomed questions. It was encouraging to see so many of the local DWP and JCP staff, with whom we work so well, on the call too. I think she came away with positive news of the strong partnerships that exist across Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire.

Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce is passionate about helping young people into employment post-pandemic and see Kickstart and other schemes to bring new enthusiasm into our brilliant businesses and organisations and support the growth of the economy and prosperity for all. We are proud to be a Gateway and have already but over 1200 job opportunities from businesses across the area for young people. The scheme lasts until December and we are sure that we can generate even more. Thanks to Jack Brereton, MP for facilitating this meeting in the first place, and for chairing on the day, and we hope Mims Davies will be able to visit in person to meet with many local businesspeople soon.

This week has also seen another key milestone step in the government’s Roadmap to Recovery with people able to meet again in an outdoor setting. The Easter break now gives us all an opportunity to take some time to relax with family and friends, reflect and look toward the next phase of recovery. It has been a tough start to 2021, and I do not need to remind you why. However, there is so much to look forward to, and we like every business have lots of exciting things planned for 2021 including our new peer to peer member platform, a brand-new website, the 2021 Business Awards and Business Festival and much more.

More of all this later, but for now have a happy Easter and continue to stay safe.

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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