A job programme helping the prospects of young people across Renfrewshire has recruited its 100th placement.

Rhiannon McGinley lost her job during the Covid-19 pandemic, but is now “incredibly happy” after securing a new role with local company GBM Casting.

Kickstart is the UK Government programme funding paid job placements and training for people aged 16-24 receiving Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment.

Renfrewshire Council, working with Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce and Engage Renfrewshire, submitted a bid on behalf of local employers and secured more than 500 placements.

The programme is open to any local business, charity or social enterprise and the Council’s employability team Invest in Renfrewshire provide the recruitment and training support.

Last week, Rhiannon, from Paisley, became the 100th person in Renfrewshire to start in her new position, working as and Admin and Casting Assistant with GBM Casting.

She said: “In the past I had worked in the hospitality industry, primarily in pubs and nightclubs, but I was made redundant in October due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  Due to so many people being in the same position as me and losing their jobs, it has been difficult to find employment as there was very little work to go round and so many people looking.

“Isobel Mclaughlan from Invest in Renfrewshire has been amazing in helping support me. She was always very caring, supportive and eager to help in any and every way she could. I was very lucky to have her as an advisor and I would recommend this service to anyone needing help with employment or struggling with work due to the pandemic.

“I couldn’t ask for a better opportunity. I am incredibly happy with my employment, my colleagues are all extremely kind and welcoming and I can’t wait to get more confident within my role and get stuck into my work.

“I felt it was time to start my career rather than just looking for work, Kickstart and GBM Casting has made that opportunity available to me and I’m over the moon with it. I feel this job will help provide me with the skills I can use in my day-to-day life as well as professional life in the future.”

Graeme Miller is Founder of GBM Casting, whose business based at Glasgow Airport Business Park supply Supporting Artists for TV, film and commercials.

He said: “I have found the Kickstart Programme ideal for GBM Casting to grow the business and train new staff without risks.

“I was introduced to the programme by Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce and had amazing support from colleagues at Invest in Renfrewshire, who helped with advertising the vacancy and passing suitable CVs onto us. We were amazed at the quality of candidates, that made selection the most challenging part of the process.

“We have been very successful, and we want to pass that success to younger people who have been hit hard by the pandemic through providing opportunities which enable young people to access skills and training helping to achieve a career and financial stability. It was really important that we found someone from the local area. We have high hopes for Rhiannon, and we don’t view it as a placement, it is the real deal.”

As part of the programme, the Council has committed to provide 120 placements, with 26 people now started in a range of roles across the different services.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “Congratulations to Rhiannon and to all the young people who have secured a job placement. Many young people have been adversely affected by the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and we have made it a priority to provide every available support to help them back on the right track to achieving their ambitions.

“Through the Young Person’s Guarantee we are offering all young people the opportunity of an apprenticeship, fair employment, volunteering, training or support to go to college or university. Our employability team are on hand now to connect people to the opportunities and help them towards the route that’s right for them.

“I am immensely proud of our local employers who have come forward to create a placement. By doing this they are gaining a committed and determined new employee and helping to support the recovery and growth of the Renfrewshire economy.”

The Kickstart posts pay at least the National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week and are advertised on our jobs portal where potential applicants can register their interest to find out more.

Employers can visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/kickstart to complete our online survey and register their interest in providing a placement.