Shropshire Chamber of Commerce has been praised for its role in helping a graduate land a job with one of the county’s leading insurance brokers.
Danielle Crowe, from Shrewsbury, joined specialist insurance broker Cox Mahon Limited through the Government’s Kickstart scheme, which offers subsidised work placement opportunities.
But she has now been taken on permanently by the Shrewsbury-based company on an apprenticeship, after impressing the team with her skills and attitude.
Danielle graduated from the University of Manchester with a geology degree in 2017 and had since worked primarily in administration.
But she felt her love of data was never satisfied, so she described joining Cox Mahon through the Government’s Kickstart scheme earlier this year as ‘a very exciting prospect’.
Danielle said: “I found out about Kickstart through my work coach. What attracted me was the idea of being able to join any industry in which I had no prior knowledge, with no cost to the organisation.
“The Government essentially funds six months of training, at 25 hours a week – there is no loss to any organisation and every gain.
“This part-time basis can be reassuring for anyone who has been unemployed for a long time or perhaps experienced uncertainty through the Covid pandemic, as it will gently ease you back into the workplace, which is really good as you have so much support.
“Without the Kickstart programme, it is highly unlikely I would have had the chance to break into the insurance industry – and in fact, it is likely not to have been something I would have considered for myself!”
Cox Mahon Limited is a privately owned insurance broker with very distinct areas of expertise, including professional indemnity insurance, estates & private clients and commercial.
Office manager Yvonne Hilton said: “This is the first Kickstart employee we have taken on, and it has been a great success. Cox Mahon wanted to support the scheme and felt it was a great opportunity to train and develop Danielle who would also bring excellent skills to our business.”
Finance manager Ruth Lewis added: “This really is a success story – an extremely favourable union for both Danielle and Cox Mahon, made possible with the help of Shropshire Chambers of Commerce. So thank you!
“Cox Mahon is now supporting, and funding, an apprenticeship scheme which will provide both an NVQ as well as Chartered Insurance Institute qualifications for Danielle – this is a real career pathway, and all as a result of the Kickstart programme.”
The company also currently has a vacancy for an admin assistant through the Kickstart programme.
Shropshire Chamber was the first ‘gateway’ provider in the county to post live vacancies through the £2 billion scheme to help young people aged 16-24 who are at risk of long-term unemployment.
Hundreds of companies across Shropshire have since come forward to offer vacancies in a wide range of sectors from manufacturing to professional services, hospitality, social care, marketing, animal welfare, and more.
Shropshire Chamber chief executive Richard Sheehan said: “I want to say a big thanks to the Shropshire business community for the way it has stepped up to engage with Kickstart. We are extremely proud to be able to play our part in creating opportunities which really can be life-changing for young people.”