Careers kickstarted as promising young employees land permanent roles with Southern Co-op thanks to scheme

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MORE than 30 people have had their retail and funeral care careers kickstarted thanks to a scheme tackling youth unemployment.

The Kickstart scheme has led to 34 people securing permanent roles with Southern Co-op.

After opening up a large number of roles across its stores, funeral services and head office, 76 people took up placements under the scheme which was aimed at 16 to 24 year olds on Universal Credit who were at risk of long-term unemployment.

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The final placements finished at the end of September which also tied in with the 2022 National Inclusion Week dedicated to celebrating inclusion and taking action to create inclusive workplaces.

Olivia Madgwick from Portsmouth.Olivia Madgwick from Portsmouth.
Olivia Madgwick from Portsmouth.

Just over 65 per cent who completed the six month placement were offered permanent roles - including Olivia Madgwick from Portsmouth who accepted a role as a recruitment resourcer just a few months after starting.

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Linda Masterman, Southern Co-op's diversity and inclusion manager, said: ‘When I interviewed her, she said ‘I'm not going to lie but I don't know if I'm going to like office work’.

‘It was a big step for her but she's really happy with what she is doing.

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‘Members of the recruitment team saw real potential in her and she just got on with it from day one. We didn't want to lose her.’

Southern Co-op's programme also included training for a Level One Certificate in Employability Skills run by Havant and South Downs College.

Sarah Kavanagh, business transformation and HR director at Southern Co-op, said: ‘What the Kickstart Scheme proved is that, with the right attitude and the right opportunity, people can overcome barriers and gain the confidence to progress their careers.’