Portsmouth graduate on Kickstart scheme joins meeting with Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak day before budget announcement

CHATTING to young people from a government employment scheme may not be expected from the Chancellor of the Exchequer the day before the budget announcement.

Tuesday, 2nd March 2021, 5:02 pm
Updated Wednesday, 3rd March 2021, 5:46 pm

Olivia Ralph from Pompey in the Community joined around 20 other people from the Kickstart scheme to hear from and ask questions of Rishi Sunak who met them on a Zoom call.

The 23-year-old featured in The News last week promoting Shaping Portsmouth's 100 in 100 campaign to create job opportunities for young people, and was thrilled to be invited to this meeting.

Olivia is on a placement in the marketing team of the charity as part of the six-month Kickstart scheme to create job placements for 16 to 24-year-olds.

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Olivia Ralph, who is on a placement at Pompey in the Community through the government Kickstart scheme, met chancellor Rishi Sunak on a group Zoom call ahead of the upcoming budget announcement.

About her Zoom call with the chancellor, University of Brighton graduate Olivia said: ‘He thanked us a lot for being involved in the Kickstart scheme. I was fortunate to be on the call, it was really exciting.

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‘It feels great, it makes me feel proud because before Christmas I wasn’t even getting any responses to applications.

‘Now with this government scheme I haven’t only got the work placement I wanted, now I have got recognition from the people who set up the scheme.

Olivia Ralph, who is on a placement at Pompey in the Community through the government Kickstart scheme, met chancellor Rishi Sunak on a group Zoom call ahead of the upcoming budget announcement.

‘It’s really nice that it’s not gone unnoticed. It’s an honour really. I was on the front page of The News last week and the following week I have had a meeting with Rishi Sunak.

‘I’ve only been here four weeks! I’m just so happy here, it’s the perfect role for me.’

Olivia was hoping to ask about how the Kickstart programme could help open doors if the employers cannot offer an ongoing role after the six-month placement, but there wasn’t enough time.

Pompey in the Community's newly-recruited Kickstarter Olivia Ralph   The government's Kickstart Scheme provides funding to create new job placements for 16 to 24 year olds on Universal Credit who are at risk of long term unemployment Pictured: Olivia Ralph at Portsmouth Football Club on 24 February 2021 Picture: Habibur Rahman

However, Olivia was excited to be one of the first people outside of the government to catch a glimpse of the red book containing the upcoming budget.

Clare Martin, chief executive of Pompey in the Community, said: ‘I think a lot of people think Kickstart is just for young people who don’t have a lot of qualifications. Liv graduated last summer but hadn’t been able to find a job at all.

‘It’s so important that these opportunities are there for young people who are highly qualified and people hitting the ground running with few qualifications and experience.’

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