What Is The Government’s Kickstart Scheme and How Does it Work?

The Kickstart Scheme is a new type of government scheme aiming to help encourage the employment of young people (specifically those aged between 16 to 24) currently on Universal Credit. The scheme is a part of the government’s Plan for Jobs, aiming to create new jobs by funding employers for the purpose of hiring workers within this bracket, and helping keep young people in employment, avoiding furlough or unemployment.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled this scheme during his summer statement, offering £2 billion to help fund employers for this purpose.

Over 3.2 million employees in the UK are supported with Universal Credit, with a considerable portion of this group being young people. Attempting to help tackle their risk of long-term unemployment, this the Kickstart scheme will offer young people support in building up careers during the coronavirus pandemic.

What Does the Kickstart Scheme Cover?

The government funding will cover 100% of the wages for 25-hour week jobs on National Minimum Wage. This will be up to a period of 6 months. Funding will also cover the associated National Insurance contributions for the employer, as well as their minimum automatic enrolment contributions.

In addition to this a sum of £1,500 is available per job placement for costs relating to support, training and the overall setup of the placement. After young people within this age bracket have completed the Kickstart scheme, extra funding will be provided to help them build up experience, of which is aimed to help in subsequently achieving sustained employment.

The first jobs offered through this scheme should be open from November onwards, with applications from employers already underway.

Am I Eligible to Apply for the Kickstart Scheme?

Funding for the Kickstart scheme is available to employers if and when their application is successful. Any type of organisation can apply, however there is criteria employers will have to meet in order to be eligible for approval, this including the following:

  • The job placements must not be replacing planned/existing vacancies
  • These placements must not result in existing employees/contractors to reduce their role in the business, or lose employment entirely
  • The new job placements must offer a minimum of 25 hours per week throughout a 6 month period
  • The placements must offer at the very least the National Minimum Wage relative to the age of the employee
  • The placements should not need employees to undergo extensive training before the placement begins
  • The placements must be exclusively for people between the ages of 16 – 24 who are on Universal Credit facing the risk of long-term unemployment
  • The application must be for 30 job placements at minimum

Whilst applications are required to be offering a minimum of 30 job placements, if unable to offer this, there is the option to partner with another organisation (or multiple) until this minimum amount is met. In addition to meeting the requirements listed above, applications for this funding should also detail how employers will help the young people who fill them to develop and grow on their experience and skill set. This can include the following supports:

  • Helping the participating young people look for long-term work, e.g. careers advice.
  • Offering help with their CV and preparations for interviews.
  • Supporting participants with such essential skills as timekeeping, teamwork and attendance.

How to Apply for the Government’s Kickstart Scheme

For employers who are offering 30 or more job placements, your application can be submitted directly via an online application. When filling in the application, employers will have to provide the following details:

  • Your Companies House reference number/ Charity Commission number.
  • The address of your organisation.
  • Contact details for your organisation.
  • Details about the new job placements, including their location.
  • Details of the support the organisation will be able to provide in developing young peoples’ employability skills.
  • Evidence that these job placements are new, rather than existing, open vacancies.

Once completing the government’s online application, it will then be reviewed. Through this process, the application will be checked to see of it meets the standard requirements set out for the Kickstart Scheme. After this, the application will then be pushed to a panel to be considered.

Whilst this scheme is not competitive, funding will only be provided by the scheme when the appropriate criteria have been met. If you’re an employer looking to apply for the scheme but cannot create 30 or more job placements, you will have to partner with another organisation (or multiple), until you can  collectively offer this required amount of job placements.

What Happens After a Kickstart Scheme Application Is Approved?

If the criteria is met and an employer’s application is approved, they will then receive a grant agreement in a letter. In this agreement will be detailed both what the employer’s organisation has agreed that they will provide, as well as the amount of funding they will be given from the scheme. The employer must sign the grant agreement, and return it as instructed in the letter before the job placements can commence.

How Is Funding for the Scheme Paid?

Once participants have started working within these new job placements, and this has been confirmed, only then will the initial costs for setups be paid in by the government. Information acquired through HMRC will be used to help the government check that people are still employed in these job placements. When these job roles are actively filled, the grant for this scheme will be paid in arrears.

You can start your application for funding from the Kickstart Scheme here.