Catalyst has taken an innovative community-focussed approach to the government’s new Kickstart scheme.

Through the scheme, Catalyst will employ 30 young people between now and summer 2022 in newly created community-based roles.

Launched last year, the government Kickstart scheme provides funding to create six-month paid job placements for 16 to 24-year olds who are on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment.

Inspired by the groundswell of community action seen in its communities across London and the South East during the pandemic, Catalyst’s Director of Community Investment, Sahil Khan, took the opportunity to create a new type of role in the organisation to help young people get work experience and gain transferable skills whilst supporting their communities and building a local network.

The new role of Community Connectors will work with Catalyst’s Communities team. The young people will use the knowledge of their neighbourhoods to map local community services, undertake community listening, stay in touch with socially isolated people and organise local community projects to boost community spirit and wellbeing as the country looks to focus on its recovery from the coronavirus outbreak.

Sahil told us:

‘Working with our communities is a fundamental and central part of what Catalyst does and a key element of that, now more than ever, is helping young people to thrive and get a good start to their working lives.

‘Through the Kickstart scheme, our new Community Connector role will give the 30 young people we take on a great introduction to housing, and the opportunity to work in and for their communities helping deliver local community services and organise new initiatives in the areas where they live.

‘We naturally hope that the young people who join us through the scheme will continue their working lives with us or within the sector, or that what they learn and experience during their time with us helps connect them with other employment opportunities in their area.’