The travel and hospitality industry took a huge hit from the pandemic. British beach towns that would usually be heaving with tourists went quiet in 2020. Cities lulled, hotels emptied, and trains across the UK were reserved for essential travel only. The industry lost huge amounts of revenue, and many workers were put on the furlough scheme for the foreseeable future.
Fortunately, the UK government launched The Kickstart Scheme to improve our economy and job prospects. The scheme created new jobs for those between the ages of 16 and 24, who are on Universal Credit, and at risk of long-term unemployment. Businesses across the UK and of varying sizes applied for funding to bring kickstart employees into their business. The funding covers 100% of the National Minimum Wage for 25 hours per week for six months and National Insurance and pension contributions.
Southern Rail was one of the many UK companies to utilise the kickstart scheme. The rail company recruited six people as Customer Experience Ambassadors. The kickstart employees are based in Brighton, Haywards Heath, Eastbourne, Worthing and Chichester train stations. They assist customers and reassure those returning to rail travel for the first time since Covid-19. Rail companies, such as Govia Thameslink Railway, have renowned training programmes for young people and fantastic employment rates.
The Managing Director for Southern Rail, Angie Doll, said: “Our employability initiatives are key to delivering a more diverse and inclusive organisation, something we’re very passionate about. We’re proud to be part of the government’s Kickstart Scheme, supporting young people to learn essential skills that will boost their chances of long-term employment.”
She added: “We want to help our local economies thrive and with the leisure sector opening up for summer, these placements will be vital in boosting tourism in and around Sussex. Government schemes such as Kickstart have helped us to reach talent across our communities and support those who may have otherwise struggled to gain skills and experience in the current economic climate.”
The kickstart scheme has helped to boost the leisure sector and revive local economies across the UK. Southern Rail encourages people to visit the south of England to see loved ones or explore a new area. The South of England is home to some of the most beautiful regions in the UK and is the perfect destination for a staycation this Autumn.
Furthermore, the kickstart scheme is also helping young people to develop their skillset and get on the career ladder. Those joining Southern Rail are also working with East Sussex College on application and interviewing training. They will work towards a Level 2 qualification in travel and tourism throughout the kickstart placement. The scheme is helping to boost the current travel industry while also preparing employees for what the future holds.