Kick Start Kent apprenticeship campaign on track to smash its target

The Kick Start Kent campaign, which aims to get 100 businesses to hire an apprentice within a year, has signed up its 51st company this month. With 75 young people now on apprenticeships, it looks like the campaign will smash its target before the end of October.

Paul Mattes, owner and managing director of Rochester-based PJS Direct, who has taken on an apprentice, said: “It’s a smooth system, which is fast and easy. The college handled the interview process for us. It is very hard to bring someone in on a proper salary, even if it’s minimum wage, because after three or four months they might say it is not for them and leave. That is demoralising when you are a small business because the time you take to train them is very important. With an apprentice you get a 12-month trial and after six months you know if you want to keep them, and they know if they want to stay. It is a good learning curve, which is risk-free for the apprentice and for us.”

MidKent College head of business services Jacqui Brown said: “Every conversation we have with employers seems to be about apprenticeships. I’m really happy with the success of the campaign. We have exceeded our personal target for students and still have all these vacancies. I have never known us to have these numbers before. Over the last three months the numbers have doubled. In theory we could double our Kick Start Kent target for the whole of this year.”

To join the KM Group’s Kick Start Kent campaign, email kickstartkent@thekmgroup.co.uk