Following Comtec’s initial 30 hires in sales and engineering roles through the Kickstart Scheme in December 2020, the organisation is more invested than ever in supporting young people through the government scheme. Seven months on, Comtec has so far created 40 opportunities for young people on universal credit in the face of dwindling job opportunities due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Of those hires, a quarter has been hired as full-time employees. A further quarter has gone on to further job opportunities in a range of fields – from ecology to foreign exchange – after receiving invaluable hands-on experience whilst working at Comtec. In several of these cases, Kickstarters have successfully landed roles they were turned down for prior to joining Comtec.

“We’ve had six of our Kickstarters go off into other roles – not all IT – that they simply wouldn’t have qualified for, be it down to experience, skills, or confidence, before working with us. We see this as a huge victory and are proud to be able to give them the springboard to launch what look to be long and rewarding careers,” commented Nick Claxson, CEO of Comtec.

To make room for these new hires, and future hires to come, Comtec IT Support has recently opened office space in Basingstoke that will be able to house up to 20 additional workers beyond its existing Reigate office.

Comtec has also hired Andrew Mechen as Head of Office at its new Basingstoke offices, who will oversee the ongoing development of Comtec’s Kickstart Scheme hires. Mechen will be on hand to nurture their progress, help them achieve all they can with Comtec, and work with them to identify and overcome any difficulties they may have as they settle into their role.

To further support the Kickstarters’ progress, in February this year Comtec launched the Comtec Training Academy, a five-stage training programme that will see Comtec’s own experienced engineers train new and existing employees to become efficient engineers in three-to-six months, regardless of their core role.

Through the Comtec Training Academy, all Kickstarters have received a personalised training plan including video training, one-to-one mentoring, and practice test training to ensure they are best equipped for certification tests. Key books, online resources and any other learning materials are also provided to support their training and ensure every member of the team has a baseline understanding of core technology and vendor fundamentals and can provide a consistent service to Comtec’s customers.

“With this model for creating knowledgeable, experienced engineers in a short time frame, we can encourage applicants from all backgrounds and education levels to enrol with us and find a lasting career – in or out of IT” added Claxson.

To support the workforce on a personal level, Comtec has also introduced a full-time wellbeing officer to ensure all members of staff get support throughout this difficult time. Comtec’s wellbeing officer works with the Kickstart hires to ensure that they are happy and fulfilled by their career progression, and ensures that they are receiving support in a way that is most helpful to them.

“Comtec will continue to take on more Kickstarters until the scheme ends at the end of 2021 and, providing they show interest and dedication, we are dedicated to offering each Kickstarter a full-time position,” added Claxson.

As the first ambassador of the Kickstart Scheme, Comtec will continue to campaign for other organisations to follow in its footsteps. Comtec continues to work closely with the UK government to champion the scheme, frequently speaking at government events on the benefits of the scheme for young people and employers alike.