In July 2020, Rishi Sunak announced the Government’s “plan for jobs,” with Government investment being poured into helping the economy in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic.
One of the key elements of the plan is the £2 billion “Kickstart Scheme,” which aims to create thousands of new jobs for young people and spur Britain’s economic revival. The scheme is due to run until at least December 2021.
But what is it, what are the benefits for employers and how do you get involved?
What is the Kickstart Scheme?
The landmark scheme, aims to give unemployed young people, aged 16-24, who are claiming Universal Credit a six-month work placement, not to mention a future of opportunity and hope, through government-subsidised jobs across the UK.
Who is Eligible?
The Kickstart scheme is specifically designed for those aged between 16 and 24, who are at risk of long term unemployment. As the scheme is aimed at those who are currently receiving Universal Credit, furloughed workers will not be eligible to take part. However, if they are between the ages of 16 and 24, and lose their job due to the pandemic, then they may go on to meet the eligibility requirements. Graduates or recent school leavers are also able to apply.
How does the Kickstart Scheme Work?
Under the scheme, the government fully funds each “Kickstart” job – paying 100% of the age-relevant National Minimum Wage, National Insurance and pension contributions for 25 hours a week.
Employers are able to top up this wage, while the government also pays employers £1500 to set up support and training for people on a Kickstart placement, as well as helping pay for uniforms and other set up costs. The objective is to give young people – who are more likely to have been furloughed, with many working in sectors disproportionately hit by the pandemic – the opportunity to build their skills in the workplace and to gain experience to improve their chances of finding long-term work.
Young people are referred into the new roles through their Jobcentre contacts. Those taking part receive on-the-job training, skills development and mentoring.
What Businesses can Apply to Take Part in Kickstart?
Businesses of all sizes looking to create quality jobs for young people can apply and there is no cap on the number of places. Household names including Tesco have already pledged Kickstart jobs.
Employers are only allowed to apply directly to the Government for funding if they are creating at least 30 job placements. Many small businesses and employers won’t be able to create that number of jobs but still want to take part in the scheme.
To help smaller businesses, employers offering fewer than 30 placements are asked to make a bid through an intermediary ‘Kickstart Gateway’, such as a Local Authority or Chamber of Commerce, who will then act as a representative bringing together applications from different employers to meet the Government’s threshold. This makes the process easier and less labour intensive for smaller companies who only want to hire one or two Kickstarters. The gateway organisation handles the application process with the Government, but the employer still receives 100% of the funding – the Government covers the gateway administration costs directly.
Do you have to employ Kickstarters after the 6 months?
No. It doesn’t appear that there will be any such requirement. It’s more about setting these Kickstarters up with the skills, confidence and work experience to help them secure work later. Though you would be able to offer permanent roles to them should you wish.
Where to start
As a small business wishing to support the Kickstart scheme with placements your first step is to find a Kickstart gateway in England, Scotland or Wales who have expressed interest in helping employers get a Kickstart Scheme grant. You can find approved gateway organisations via the government website: