A KNUTSFORD childcare academy has helped more than 250 young people to launch their early years careers with 30 new recruits graduating from the government’s Kickstart scheme last month.

Kids Planet, which is the third largest childcare group in the UK and based in Lymm, set up its own training academy in Knutsford in 2008 and after seeing 30 young people kickstart their childcare journey at the academy over the past few weeks, they have another 90 places available this year.

The Kickstart scheme was set up last September and it provides funding for employers to create job placements for 16- to 24-year-olds on universal credit, helping them to begin their career in industries such as early years.

During the first three months of 2021, Kids Planet enrolled 100 new trainees across a range of courses from traineeships to masters degrees and has been able to offer training across their 59 nursery settings in the north west, the midlands and the south.

Kids Planet training academy, which has purpose-built premises in Knutsford as well as satellite centres across the north west, has achieved excellent apprenticeship success and retention rates and staff are keen to continue helping young people, especially in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Gill Mason, head of training and development at the academy, said: “We are delighted to play an instrumental part in the Kidstart scheme, supporting those young people hit hardest by the pandemic.

“Given what the entire country has experienced in the past 12 months and more, it is fantastic to see so many learners embarking on their exciting new career paths in early years and our aim is that they continue this journey as apprentices with Kids Planet.”

Referrals to the Kickstart Scheme will run until December.