WATCH: Celebrity chefs help young people on Universal Credit to get jobs in the hospitality industry

Glynn Purnell from Purnells, Aktar Islam from Opheem and Alex Claridge from The Wilderness are all helping the Kickstart programme

Birmingham’s most acclaimed chef’s are encouraging young people to start ‘learning and earning’ by starting careers in the hospitality industry on a work scheme funded by the Government.

Glyn Purnell is supporting the scheme - called the Kickstart programme - and attended the promotional event at Opheem with it’s restaurant director Aktar Islam together with Alex Claridge from The  Wilderness Restaurant.

The most recent figures show that job vacancies are 45% up on pre-pandemic levels with 172,000 vacancies across all sectors in the West Midlands.

Eleanor Cocks on the Kickstart Programme in Birmingham helping young people get jobs in hospitality

How does the Kickstart programme work?

The Kickstart programme gives funding to employers to create six-month paid roles to 16-24 year olds who are claiming Universal Credit. The young workers are funded for 25 hours per week at national minimum wage, including National Insurance and pension enrolment.

Both Brexit and Covid have hit the hospitality sector hard, with many leaving the industry for new careers elsewhere.

The UK’s exit from the European Union has also meant that many migrant workers are no longer coming here to find work. It’s left the industry looking for new ways to fill the many vacancies currently on offer.

Chefs Alex Claridge, Aktar Islam and Glynn Purnell with West Midlands Mayor Andy Street

What to the chefs and people taking part say about the scheme?

Eleanor Cocks says the opportunity “means the World” and she hopes to follow in the footsteps of the celebrity chef’s in attendance with a stellar career.

Chelmsley Wood-born Glynn Purnell who owns the Michelin-starred Purnell’s restaurant in Birmingham, says “the hospitality industry offers so much’ and urged young people to consider a career. He added, “there are plenty of opportunities”

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street spoke with the chefs about their careers and says that: “So far the scheme has been a success with around 5000 young people already securing jobs through the scheme.”

“There are so many opportunities in hospitality across the West Midlands”“We need people to get on and apply quickly, the Government are saying this scheme will end in December so please, get those applications in.”

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