Kilkenny LEADER Partnership (KLP) has embarked on an ambitious initiative to support the unemployed with a “County Kilkenny Employability Strategy”. To support the implementation of this strategy, a number of goals and targets have been developed with an aim to connect individuals to a range of suitable Employability Packages. Kickstart is one of the employability packages as part of KLP’s employabilty strategy.

Kick Start Kilkenny’s Employment Strategy

Kickstart is a job placement initiative for unemployed people developed by Kilkenny LEADER Partnership (KLP) to address the specific employment opportunities in Kilkenny and match local employers and interested jobseekers. KLP are developing Kickstart in partnership with State Street and the Department of Social Protection. Based on its consultation and research, Kickstart will place participants in sectors that offer real employment prospects and training. It is proposed that the lessons of Kickstart may influence national policy in the area of placements and unemployment.

KLP developed KickStart as a way of driving its Employability Strategy which was published in 2010 and adopted as a policy by Kilkenny’s County Development Board. The strategy identified a number of sectors as offering employment growth in Kilkenny; they included hospitality/tourism, food production and processing, light engineering, group admin services and some renewable energies and green technologies. It is proposed to host a workshop/seminar on the lessons of the pilot phase in the autumn of this year. State Street has made $10,000 available towards the cost of this event and other elements of KickStart.

KickStart will place participants in Kilkenny business sectors that offer the identified employment growth. With the support of general training in IT, communications, presentation skills and project management, the aim is to equip participants with the skills and experience to gain permanent employment in that sector. In addition, they have the opportunity to undertake a specialised training course in a project field recommended by the employer.

The key to making Kickstart a success is the pre-placement screening and training process. In the current pilot phase, Una McGrath is the link from the KLP placement officers and Ann Marie McSorley of McSorley Training is the link to all the prospective employers. Together, they meet candidates prior to training to seek a match between skills, capacity, and potential and each host placement. Once on Kickstart, participants and host companies will be supported throughout their placement.

The jobs facilitator at the Kilkenny office of the Department of Social Protection has agreed to the investment of the welfare benefits of the participants and additional funding for specialised training programmes. Key agencies for referral onto the programme have been the County Kilkenny VEC Adult Guidance Service and Kilkenny Jobs Club.

The project is an excellent example of the private sector, statutory agencies and local development companies like KLP, cooperating on an innovative new approach to solving a difficult issue.

For more information contact our offices 056 7752111