Home/ News/ The Outdoors Project Celebrates Kickstart Recruitment Success

The Outdoors Project Celebrates Kickstart Recruitment Success


Brighton & Hove-based children’s outdoor activity-club, The Outdoors Project are celebrating their success with the government’s Kickstart employment scheme.


The Outdoors Project are celebrating the positive impact of the Kickstart employment scheme and the valuable support they had in creating a new role within their business.
As the UK scheme prepares to close its doors to new entrants in December, Sam & Joel, co-owners of The Outdoors Project reflect on the benefits of the programme, particularly the opportunity to create new employment with minimal risk. Kickstart says, The Outdoors Project benefited as much as the young people they recruited.

“We have been really pleased at the opportunity Kickstart gave us to employ – not only new Outdoor Instructors, but also an Office Assistant during our busiest period. Our new instructors Harry and Louis were so brilliant with the kids, but also took on the role of site coordinators – having this meant that our lead instructors could put all of their energy into the sessions, and less worry on organising the equipment and logistics. Back at HQ, having Josie in the office meant that the business could focus on improving systems and growing its franchise. This is a great success for us and a success for Kickstart too, as Harry and Josie are no longer job seekers, but valued employees of The Outdoors Project.” – Sam & Joel

Kickstart was launched by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in 2021 as a practical solution to help businesses bounce back from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The total value of the programme is £2-billion, to date. Businesses are able to use Kickstart to create new jobs and take on fully-funded staff for up to 25 hours per week, who are paid via Kickstart, not their own business. Brighton-based, The Outdoors Project used the Kickstart program to employ Josie and Harry in the roles of Operations & Marketing Assistant and Franchise Assistant, respectively. 

Harry and Josie were initially employed on the 6-month Kickstarter contract starting in March earlier this year and have since taken up full time positions within the company.
“Working at The Outdoors Project was a real change for me. Due to COVID, I was unemployed since the start of 2021, and was unsure of what to do next after graduating from the University of Leeds in the summer of 2020. I stumbled upon the opportunity to work with the Outdoors Project over summer. After spending the first 6 months working outdoors with kids at Holiday Clubs / After School Clubs / Parent & Toddler sessions I fell in love with working with kids outdoors, providing fun themed activities. COVID has shown us how important our environment is and how crucial we are out interacting with it. Getting our children outside is paramount to their development and health.
In October I was offered the opportunity to join the company full-time working on the franchising arm of the business as they look to expand their model over the country. I am learning huge amounts about the running of a small-medium sized business through my close work relationship with the company director and loving things as I have maintained a unique working balance of office time coupled with still getting out and working at afterschool clubs (where I now lead a session) and holiday clubs." - Harry Neale-Smith


What is Kickstart?

Applications for new positions are invited from young people referred into the roles via a Jobcentre Plus work coach. DWP (The Department for Work and Pensions) funds 100% of the National Minimum Wage, National Insurance and pension contributions for 25 hours a week over a six-month period. The paid wage is age-relevant, and employers can choose to top up this wage, which The Outdoors Project agreed to do. 

Support for businesses
As an independent and local business severely impacted by lockdowns and subsequent restrictions, the programme has delivered much-needed support for The Outdoors Project. Lockdowns meant that many sport and outdoor activities were not able to operate and the impact of this uncertainty was potentially catastrophic to a sector that employs many local, independent and often family-owned businesses. 

Sport and Activity Professionals provides training and consultancy to many of these businesses within the Sport, Health, Fitness, Leisure and Children’s Activities sector and they have provided a valuable lifeline during the crisis of the pandemic. The organisation has also been acting as a DWP-approved Gateway for the programme and has seen many positive outcomes.

“Kickstart is a great scheme for all parties concerned as it's helping businesses bounce back by funding the resources they need to recover and grow. And by giving them a motivated, enthusiastic young person who brings both talent and a positive work ethic to their new workplace, it’s helping them recruit in a risk-free way,” says Mark Rasche, Director, Sport and Activity Professionals.

Throughout the programme, Sport and Activity Professionals has offered guidance to children’s activities and sports providers who require support to complete the application process or with the responsibilities associated with creating the position.

Mark is glowing in his praise for the scheme, saying: “It’s a great scheme for all parties concerned. It helps the young people because they get a chance to prove themselves and either progress into a permanent role or use this great experience - and great reference - to help them get another role. And it helps government as it gets thousands and thousands of young people off benefits and back into employment. The businesses are the winners, too, because they have the talented young person on their team with many of the stresses of recruitment vastly reduced.”

“We've really enjoyed helping business and young people benefit from the scheme and what's nice to see is that when the six months of funding is up, lots of these young people are being kept on by the employers. These are jobs that are unlikely to have been created without the Kickstart scheme,” he adds.


About Sports and Activity Professionals
Sport and Activity Professionals Consulting is the consulting arm of Sport and Activity Professionals; it focuses on working with small and medium-sized organisations in the sport/health/fitness/play/franchising sectors helping clients to get from where they are to where they want to get to, which usually involves growing the business, delivering a better product to customer, having happier more engaged staff and getting a better balance in their own life. The Kickstart scheme is one of the things they do to help businesses in these niche sectors. 

About Kickstart and the benefits to small businesses
Kickstart roles can take on any form, if they are suitable for someone aged 18-24 and fit the requirements. Example jobs include support roles for sales and marketing, social media, administration or customer-facing positions.

Kickstart is enabling businesses to bounce Back from Lockdown, grow their business Faster and make a difference in a young person's life. Kickstart is hugely beneficial to employers and a great way for them to gain access to motivated