A business community aiming to help power up the North is investing in young people through the Government’s Kickstart Scheme.

The Northern Affinity, a Pudsey-headquartered community powering growth and development, has recruited two young people as it continues to expand its influence across the North.

The appointments follow the news that the organisation has strengthened its voice beyond West Yorkshire by setting up new groups in Greater Manchester and South Yorkshire.

The two placements are a result of the Kickstart Scheme, which is aimed at young people aged 16-24 on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment.

Lauren, aged 23, and Bradley, aged 24, have joined as social media and marketing manager and events manager respectively.

The Kickstart Scheme offers funding of 100% of National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week for a total of six months, along with employer National Insurance contributions. It also provides £1,500 per job placement to cover set-up costs, equipment and training.

Michael Edwards, founder of The Northern Affinity, welcomed the two new recruits on board and said: “The Northern Affinity is growing quickly and expanding its support network across a large part of the North.

“As we grow, we create new opportunities and it’s great that we can help young people onto the career ladder, train them and nurture them and watch them grow as individuals.

“Just as we want to power up the North, we also want to empower young people and give them a chance to shine.

“The Coronavirus pandemic has hit young people hard and the jobs market for those just starting out has never been more difficult to access.

“Young people are the ones who will benefit from increased investment and a ‘levelling up’ of the North and we want to see them play a prominent and active role in building a new future for themselves and others.”

Around 700,000 young people left education and entered the jobs market last year and around 250,000 others aged under 25 had been claiming unemployment benefit.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak invested £2 billion in the Kickstart Scheme which runs until December 2021. Around 20,000 placements had been created by the end of last year.

The Northern Affinity is a partner of the Northern Powerhouse and brings together business owners to provide a platform to power growth and development through on-going support and collaboration.

The organisation supports entrepreneurs and business owners who are passionate about rebuilding the North.

The appointments will add further value to its 100 plus partners.