A FAST growing property firm has praised a 'lifesaver' UK Government scheme that helped it bring in new staff following lockdown.

Andrew Bowman, director of Bowman Rebecchi, told the Tele that the government's Kickstart programme, which helps young people find work placements, played a crucial role in the company's decision to hire new staff after pandemic restrictions were lifted.

The scheme helps young people aged 16-24 who are receiving Universal Credit to find six month work placements, so they can gain experience and skills that will set them up for future employment.

The Gourock-based firm currently has two Kickstart scheme staff, with a third, Lucy MacDonald, recently taken on as a full time employee after the success of her six month placement.

As a Kickstart employee, international business management graduate Lucy was the marketing officer for Bowman Rebecchi's commercial arm.

Kickstart positions guarantee successful applicants placements of at least 25 hours per week and Lucy spent those hours working in all areas of the firm's commercial portfolio.

She's now the full time marketing executive for the residential lettings team and also works alongside the firm's Glasgow partners, Newton Letting.

Hardworking Lucy was delighted to have been taken on and says she is settling in well to her new role.

He said: "I started in April, working mostly in the commercial side of things, then I got taken on full time last month.

"Kickstart made the application process really easy for me and it's good to work for an Inverclyde-based company."

The firm is hoping its two other Kickstart staff will find similar success.

Holly Brown and Rhys Elliott were brought in after Lucy, with the former providing administrative support while the latter has been helping the firm migrate onto a new computer system.

Holly, a recent school leaver, was thrilled to be given the opportunity to join the local firm.

She said: "I started in August and I'm loving it.

"To come straight out of school and get a chance to build my skills up like this is great."

Bowman Rebecchi's participation in the Kickstart scheme was facilitated by Inverclyde Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Department for Work and Pensions.

Andrew Bowman says the scheme has been crucial for the company and the young people involved, especially after the uncertainty of the pandemic.

He said: "It's been a lifesaver for us at times.

"When Lucy started we were still coming out of lockdown and we were unsure if we'd be able to take someone on at that point.

"Rhys and Holly have been doing well since they came in and we're really pleased with how they're progressing.

"The Kickstart scheme being there as a test start for us to get someone on board and manage their workload while also having funding to support it was a game-changer for us."