Kickstart helps frozen yogurt chain accelerate growth
Frozen yogurt chain Yogoo! has grown quickly by offering employment to up to 20 young people on the Kickstart scheme.
Yogoo! was founded three years ago by brothers Dean and Kiril Hristov through the Virgin StartUp scheme. It offers healthy yoghurt-based desserts and now has ten stores, mainly in the south-east and south-west.
Dean described Kickstart as a ‘win-win’ scheme that has had massive benefits for both Yogoo! and those he has been able to take on. Under the scheme, employers can take on young people aged 16-24 for up to six months, with their wages paid for by the government.
“We’ve been through a rollercoaster ride during the pandemic as so many companies have, but we are now on a strong growth path and the Kickstart employees have really helped with that,” he said.
Many have been placed in stores either owned by the company or by their franchise partners and have gained valuable experience which will stand them in good stead for the future.
“We have taken people on with no experience and two months down the line they have gained people skills, financial skills and confidence. They have learnt to be punctual, responsible and accountable.
“These may seem like obvious things to people who have been working a long time, but they are not to someone who is coming into their first job.”
Dean says employers who take on Kickstart employees need patience and must spend time with them to help them grow in their roles.
“You have to be flexible and give them a chance. Everyone has to start somewhere and you have to show them how the business works.
“I know some companies see it as a risk because you have to train youngsters and they get concerned about their brand and offering consistency of service. The key is to have an experienced person working alongside the Kickstart employee, so they can learn, and that has worked well for us.”
Dean hopes to take several Kickstart employees on as permanent employees when their six months on the scheme is completed.
“Some will be promoted as assistant managers and may go on to be branch managers. Others will want to go on to do other things, but that’s fine because they will have some good work experience on their CV and will have helped us along the way.”
Dean is full of praise for recruitment specialists Workadvisor, the approved Kickstart Gateway Organisation that has provided the company with young workers – https://employers.workadvisor.co.uk/dwp-kickstart-scheme/
“Probably about 80% of our Kickstarters have come through WorkAdvisor. The team there are very pro-active and very good with the paperwork, allowing us to just get on with working with the young people,” he said.
“They do all the initial screening and make sure we comply with all the terms and conditions. They also keep in touch with the Kickstart employees to ensure they complete tests and reflect on their experiences.
“They’ve made it very easy for us and I would highly recommend them and the scheme.”
Pic shows Dean (left) and Kiril Hristov hard at work.