Kickstart interns bring young blood to council

Enthusiastic young people are cropping up across Aberdeen City Council as the authority’s Kickstart internship programme gets underway.

The first of an influx of 155 interns have already started working across services from waste collection to digital, admin to recruitment with more starting in the organisation in the coming months.

The creation of these posts forms part of the council’s Socio-Economic Rescue Plan and more broadly in supporting the city’s young workforce, which has been hit hard by the economic impacts of the pandemic and downturn in the oil and gas industry.

The interns are all part of the Kickstart Scheme, a UK government initiative which provides funding to employers focused on providing employment opportunities for young people aged 16-24 who are in receipt of Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment. It is believed that Aberdeen City Council may be taking on more interns than any other Scottish local authority.

Aberdeen City Council city growth and resources convener Councillor Ryan Houghton said “Aberdeen City Council holds gold-level Investors in Young People accreditation and is proud to support the city’s young workforce through a range of initiatives, including Kickstart and Young Person Guarantee.

“Managers across the council has shown a real desire to get involved and the response we’ve seen has been incredible. We have internships planned across all Functions.

“Kickstart placements will provide an essential step on the career ladder for young people, including some of the city’s most vulnerable young people, who might otherwise struggle to get a job, particularly in the current climate. There’s no guarantee of a permanent post at the end of their six-month internship, but everyone will gain valuable workplace experience and a reference, which will be critical in securing a new job.

“Our officers are working closely with the DWP, local Job Centre Plus, and businesses to identify positive work experience opportunities for eligible young people.

Simona Veisa, 18, has just started an internship in the Employability Team, where her role will be to help administer the Kickstart scheme.

She said: “This is a great opportunity for me and I’m really happy to have been given a chance like this. It’s been a bit challenging working from home, but my team have been really supportive and I’m enjoying learning about the council and getting to know people. I’m really interested in administration as a career and this is a really good way for me to learn about it and get started.”

Every City Council intern will be supported by the ABZWorks employability team and the People and Organisational Development team, throughout their six-month placements.

Aberdeen City Council is also acting as a Kickstart gateway organisation and has secured approval for more than 400 posts in total, with employers across the North-east accessing the scheme through the authority.

Kickstart provides employers with start-up funds for each young person they take on through the scheme and covers salaries at national minimum wage and on-costs for six months.

Employers interested in finding out more about the scheme should contact kickstart@aberdeencity.gov.uk

Young people who wish to participate in the scheme should speak to their Job Centre work coach.