Youth unemployment is currently tracking at a five year high with young people being hit hardest by the employment challenges of the pandemic. This coupled with additional societal barriers to employment individuals can face, means access to starting a career can be challenging and limited.
In September 2020 the government launched the Kickstart scheme, funding employers to provide six month placements for young people at risk of long term unemployment. We’re well known for our approach to innovation, autonomy and putting people over processes, so in early 2021 we launched our own, self-funded version of the Kickstart scheme.
As well as tackling youth unemployment, the Kickstart scheme is a positive action to start to address some of our underrepresented demographics, identified by our SBG Census, that we ran earlier in 2021. We also wanted to break down barriers that certain groups can face to employment, levelling the societal playing field.
We created 13 new roles across Marketing, Finance, People, Social Media, Trading, Delivery, User Experience and Design, giving young people the chance to experience all that SBG life has to offer in a six month placement.
In Spring 2021 we went out to market with the 13 roles and for the first time in SBG’s history, requiring absolutely no experience or qualifications. Just people with a passion to learn and build their career. Instead of advertising in our usual networks, we went out to communities and worked with charities, community organisations and job centres across Yorkshire and Solihull to find young people with huge potential who just needed the right opportunity and the chance to shine.
We’ve applied these lessons to the way we recruit more generally, challenging ourselves to look in different places with different tactics and removing as many barriers to entry as possible.
After three weeks of onboarding where our Kickstarters learnt about workplace etiquette, budgeting, Safer Gambling and had the opportunity to grill our Leadership Team in an open Q&A, our 13 young people are now settled into their new roles.
We’ve designed their placements to focus on mastering workplace essentials such as writing an email, managing/running meetings, through to challenges such as working on our commercial reporting and creating content for our internal communications and external brands.
Not only have we been able to provide our Kickstarters with opportunities and experience, we’ve gained the brains, insights, challenging questions and fresh perspectives of 13 young people who represent our local community and can contribute to the future success of our business.
We’ve also proved that if you challenge yourself to recruit in different markets, you really do attract diverse talent.