The Department for Work and Pensions has appointed Comtec Enterprises as its first ambassador for the Kickstart Scheme, a government initiative launched in late 2020 to encourage employers to hire 16-24 year-olds.
Comtec was the first organisation to embrace the scheme, hiring 30 new staff in December. It has subsequently taken on 15 more young people and appointed a full-time wellbeing officer to ensure Kickstart hires receive the support they need.
Nick Claxson, CEO and Founder of Comtec Enterprises, said: “What’s great about the Kickstart Scheme is that it’s geared towards 16-24 year-olds, young people who can be trained to fill the skills gap that’s hurting the UK technology industry. Not only are we hiring people who can be trained to our specific business needs, but we’re arming them with transferable skills that they can take with them as and when they move on to new roles.”
To this end, Comtec has introduced a five-stage training program, the Comtec Training Academy, through which Comtec’s own engineers train up new and existing employees in three-to-six months.
Trainees receive a personalised training plan including video training, one-to-one mentoring and test practice to ensure they are well prepared for certification exams.
Claxson added: “This is a great initiative for the whole business and not just the kickstarters. Coming out of the academy, trainees of all ages and experience will have industry-recognised qualifications, deep product and vendor knowledge and, most importantly, a wide-open career path ahead of them. For our customers, this means all Comtec employees, whether they joined one month ago or ten years ago, have a base level understanding of core technology and vendor fundamentals and can provide a consistent service to our clients.”
The DWP is now working with Nick Claxson to encourage other IT businesses to create job placements for 16 to 24 year-olds on Universal Credit who are at risk of long-term unemployment.