The Government Kickstart Scheme and How to Take Advantage

If your business is in need of support during this pandemic, the UK government kickstart scheme can provide funding to create job placements for 16 to 24 year olds.

kickstart scheme

From November, employers can take advantage of the Kickstart Scheme, a government initiative that provides funding for employers to create job placements for 16 to 24 year olds.

This is a great opportunity for both, young people looking for work and employers looking to get help but cannot afford a full-time wage for a new employee.

If your business could do the creativity and eagerness of a young, paid for employee for 6 months, then this scheme could be for you. 

How does it work?

The government provides 100% funding to employers to create new job placements for 16 to 24 year olds who are on Universal Credit and are at risk of long-term unemployment. Employers of all sizes can apply for funding. The funding will cover:

  • The full cost of the employees’ salary up to 25 hours a week for a total of 6 months, at the appropriate minimum wage for their age.
  • Employers national insurance and pension contributions
  • Employers minimum automatic enrolment contributions

In addition, the scheme will also provide £1,500 per job placement, which will be made available for setup costs, training and appropriate support.

Employers can spread the start date of the job placements up until the end of December 2021. The kickstart application must be for a minimum of 30 job placements, however if a single employer cannot provide this many placements, they can get help through a Kickstart gateway.

These placements should help the employee develop the skills and experience to find work beyond the 6-month placement and participants shouldn’t require extensive training before beginning work. 

Job placement criteria

The placements created with the Kickstart Scheme funding must be new jobs. They must not replace existing or planned vacancies and they must not cause existing employees, apprentices or contractors to lose work or reduce their working hours. 

Each application will have to show how the business will help the participant develop skills and experience, including:

  • Support to look for long-term work
  • Career advice and setting goals
  • Support with CV writing
  • Interview preparation
  • Basic skills, e.g. attendance, timekeeping, and teamwork

The job placements must:

  • Be a minimum of 25 hours per week, for 6 months
  • Pay at least minimum wage for the employees age group
  • Provide basic training

Once the first applicant has completed their 6-month term you can then employ a replacement.

How to apply

To apply directly through the government website, you will need to have a minimum of 30 job placements. If you have 29 or less, you can apply through a kickstart gateway. 

What you will need is:

  • Your companies house reference number, charity commission number or office of the Scottish charity regulator number
  • Your business address and contact details
  • Details of the job placements

You will need to let the kickstart scheme know:

  • How many employees you have
  • Any changes you made to your workforce in the last 6 months and why
  • Details of the changes you made in the last 6 months, including the roles, functions and average salary of anyone who had been made redundant or had their hours reduced
  • Whether you would be able to create job placements without the kickstart funding and where you would source this funding from
  • What recruitment you have completed, started or paused in the last 6 months and whether any of these roles are similar to the ones you are creating through the kickstart scheme
  • How you will be supporting young people to become more employable 

For small businesses that can only offer one or two placements, you may apply through a kickstart gateway organisation, which will: 

  • Gather information from you about the placements you would like to offer
  • Use this information to submit the application on your behalf 
  • Pass on the relevant payments made by the DWP to you
  • Share their expertise with you to help onboard and train young people employed through the scheme 
  • Provide support directly to young people employed through the scheme

To apply through a kickstart gateway, you can find a list on the government website here.

Finding the right candidate

If your application is successful: 

  • You will then provide the DWP with job descriptions that the Jobcentre Plus will use 
  • The coaches at the Jobcentre Plus will then match suitable candidates to the placements
  • DWP will send you information on the candidates 
  • You can then interview these candidates and select the best suited for the role
  • Funding will then be given to those hired through the kickstart scheme