KickStart, the innovative work placement programme created by Kilkenny LEADER Partnership (KLP) is now in its third year.

KickStart 2014 has been a phenomenal success, with thirtyeight graduates and fifteen new enrolments. It has resulted in a number of candidates receiving job offers directly from their placement sponsors.

Candidates work through a programme of communications, ICT and project management while progressing on to a work placement project with a local company. The process empowers individuals to use their existing skills and transfer them to a new project while boosting their confidence and self-esteem.

Placements are supplemented by customised training based on individual needs, to enhance their employability.

Employers equally benefit from KickStart, as individuals are matched specifically to their project need. Relevant training ensures that participants are ready to “hit the ground running”. In addition, the funding partnership with the Department of Social Protection and State Street Corporation has been essential to ensuring the viability of the programme and its expansion over the period.

In the KickStart Summer 2014 programme, forty participants entered the programme. Thirtyeight completed the programme with twenty-eight of these progressing to work placements and others to various training.  21% of candidates returned to employment (Part time, full time or self-employment after the programme). The programme is also very complimentary to the Job Bridge internship programme with 15% entering very high quality internships with agreed training objectives and very positive outlooks of work at the end of the programme.

One participant stated; “The most beneficial elements for me were confidence building, sales and communications. I found the interview techniques very useful. I also benefited from being back in a work environment through my placement after long-term unemployment. Overall, it has been a very positive experience and there is a strong possibility that I will gain paid employment from my work placement.”