Over 30 unemployed young people are set to join the Port of London Authority (PLA) in Gravesend and Forth Ports, including Tilbury Port, as part of the government’s £2.4bn Kickstart work programme.

Successful applicants will join a paid six-month traineeship.

Opportunities range from experience in administration through to operations with the aim of giving 16 to 24-year-olds a chance to gain important experience in a real working environment.

Glenn Witham, HR director at the PLA, said: “With the pandemic seriously affecting young people’s job prospects, we want to do our bit by helping them develop the skills and confidence to secure full-time employment.

“The majority of our recent apprentices have gone on to greater things with us and we hope that will be the case for our new Kickstart trainees too.”

Jackie Anderson, group HR manager at Forth Ports, said: “This is not an easy time for people looking to start a career.

“Kickstart is great new way of reaching out to even more young people. Hopefully it will be a stepping stone for other opportunities for them with us, such as an apprenticeship, or even a permanent job.

“We have a long and proud tradition of investing in opportunities for people entering the jobs market for the first time, with almost 100 apprentices in place in roles across the business, including with engineering, operations and finance.

Kickstart applicants, who must have been on Universal Credit for six months, will be referred to the PLA and Forth Ports by Job Centre Plus.

The government pays the minimum wage for the roles offered, based on a maximum 25-hour week.

Interviews are expected to take place in February with successful candidates starting in March.