VALUES KickStart programme success

During 2021-2022, VALUES took part in the KickStart scheme, a programme run by the government to help young people gain paid work experience and work-related training.

We worked closely with the East Midlands Chamber and the Department of Work and Pensions to complete the relevant paperwork to join the scheme and attract young people to apply for the role. We successfully appointed 5 people into the role over the course of the year. The government paid for the trainees’ wages for 6 months – enough time for them to gain invaluable knowledge about the role, which included how to support someone with a learning disability and information about the world of work in general.

The trainees were assigned to shadow VALUES Support Workers on various sessions for 25 hours per week. This allowed them to see how the Support Workers ran the sessions and gain knowledge of the client group both as individuals and in general. This came at a great time for VALUES as we were continuing our journey to finding our new normal following COVID-19, and the trainees quickly became a helpful extra pair of hands – after a short while, they were even able to cover some short sessions on their own.

The trainees were staggered over the course of the year with one who started in March 2022, just before the cut of date. She is already showing a lot of promise!

Through the programme, we have had some fantastic success stories; for example, from her first appointment, Kaylee made a particularly good first impression, and after just a few short weeks, we felt comfortable enough to ask her if she would like to cover some short sessions on her own. This quickly grew so that, by the end of the placement, she was able to do anything we would ask of any of our Support Workers. With that in mind, we were thrilled when she applied for a permanent position as a Support Worker just before her placement ended. She was successful and stayed on in employment with us, where she continues to thrive.

Overall, the whole experience has been a smooth and invaluable one. We would like to thank everyone that has been involved from VAL, East Midlands Chamber, the Department of Work and Pensions and, of course, the Trainees themselves.

Ben McKeown

Ben McKeown is a Team Manager for VAL's VALUES project, which helps people with learning disabilities to make friends, have fun and learn new things. Ben can be contacted via or on Twitter: @BenMcKeown14