Young people start green jobs in Middleton thanks to the DWP Kickstart scheme

Date published: 25 April 2021

Groundwork Greater Manchester’s first cohort of DWP Kickstart employees have begun work on Boarshaw Clough in Middleton.

Boarshaw Clough is a five-acre site consisting of native trees and shrubs with a footpath network, small river system and lodge. Groundwork is aiming to increase recreational use of the Clough by engaging the local community and providing information on the health and wellbeing benefits of the green space.

The first cohort of new starters at Groundwork include: administration assistant, Fenn Horan; online engagement assistant, Sidra Bashir; assistant employment advisor, Georgina Neophytou; and urban rangers & labourers, Jack Moore, Joshua Bowen, Patrick Maughan, Beth Stevens, India Pawasker-Hodson, Amza Selemani and Renee Webster-Zempt.

Explaining why she applied for her role as an urban ranger, India said: “I really wanted to work outside and get in to the environmental field. Groundwork felt like a great place to start as all the training is provided so it didn’t matter that I didn’t have all the skills yet.

“During our first week, we’ve been building a raised boardwalk at Boarshaw Clough in Middleton. It’s the first time I’ve used a drill and other tools so it’s been challenging but really rewarding too. The team is great and I’m feeling very positive about the future.”

Before securing their roles, eligible young people (aged 16-24, not in employment and in receipt of universal credit) were invited to attend a two-week pre-recruitment course which provided in depth guidance on really understanding job roles and employer expectations, how to complete job applications and prepare for interviews, plus developing the skills to be effective at work and sustain employment.

In addition to receiving a guaranteed job interview with Groundwork, all young people on the course completed Carbon Literacy training and gained accredited Health and Safety qualifications.

Liane Kirk, Youth Employment Manager at Groundwork Greater Manchester and Kickstart lead, commented: “Thanks to ongoing support from colleagues in the Greater Manchester Kickstart Team at DWP we have received a high calibre of referrals and have been impressed with the commitment of the candidates we have interviewed.”

Venetia Knight, Head of Employment & Enterprise at Groundwork Greater Manchester is no stranger to the value of work placements, adding: “After I graduated with an environmental biology degree I secured a six month voluntary work placement with Groundwork, which has led to 26 years of employment. My degree provided me with knowledge; my placement enabled me to prove I was employable.

“The Kickstart programme is providing the same kind of opportunities for young people now who are looking to build their career in these most challenging of times.”

Groundwork Greater Manchester have committed to pay the Real Living Wage to all the Kickstart trainees and will be recruiting for additional roles including Learning Mentors, Community Growing Assistant and Sustainability Officer throughout the year.

Roles are listed on the Job Centre website and young people interested in joining the pre-recruitment course can contact Liane Kirk on

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