A View From The Bridge - Harry MacLean

Harry is Managing Director of Dundee-based Carrick Management, who exist to create better outcomes for the people and businesses they work with.

A Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute with 30 years of experience and former Group MD of a multi-national business in the Netherlands, he is the former CEO of Dundee Football Club with a passion for helping local businesses and local people to reach wherever they are aiming.

A committed learner he has recently completed a Specialisation in Strategy track with Harvard Business School.

Kickstarting careers?

The Kickstart Scheme is a UK Government initiative that provides funding to create new jobs for 16-24 year olds on Universal Credit who are at risk of long term unemployment.
On the surface the Kickstart Scheme seems a very admirable idea to help solve the age-old issue of transitioning from being a callow youth into a productive adult member of the working world. If you are of a certain vintage, you will remember some other similarly aimed schemes like the Youth Opportunities Programme, the Youth Training Scheme or the simply named Youth Training. This resulted in “YOPpers” and “YTSers” all around the United Kingdom and back then each scheme came under both political and social criticism from a variety of sources, all focusing on the fact they provided cheap labour and little substance in the way of genuine education.
Has the Kickstart Scheme been any different? Like the other schemes, I am sure in years to come we will hear of the incredible success stories of a few individuals who catapulted their way to success. These stories will not be the norm though as scores of young people complete their six-month sentences and return to the job market as quickly as they escaped it.
This is not a criticism of employers, or indeed the young people who gladly took temporary positions in search of something better. It is a criticism of an approach that has a “one-size fits all” strategy with no guidance on education, no guidance on expectation and no matching of people to companies with a view to improving both.
The funded job aspect combined with a Department for Work and Pensions quota driven agenda creates a space where the primary objective is lost. That objective should be to help a young person, to develop their skillset and to prepare them for the next step. That next step might be away from your company and into a role they hadn’t yet imagined.
All employers have a duty of care to these young people, after all it is the first four letters of career. 
If you are considering a Kickstarter, and I really hope many employers do see the benefit, please consider that you are being given an opportunity to help someone and use all the tools at your disposal to do so. Work with your local Chamber of Commerce and work with your local colleges to access a wide range of funding and opportunities for workforce development.
One small request from me, please pay your Kickstarter the Living Wage. When you combine the initial grant with the Government support on wages it should not cost you anything to do so and is a real boost to the young person.
Further discussion
If you’d like to come and chat about our positive experience with the Kickstart Scheme please feel free to do so, I will make the time. Our community deserves our help in this.
Get in touch
For this or any other business issue or opportunity you may like to share with Carrick Management please don’t hesitate to make contact though our usual channels.
Harry MacLean
Managing Director
T: 01382 472550
E: harry@carrickmgmt.com
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