The government’s £2 billion Kickstart Scheme has been in place since September 2020. The government’s aim is for the Scheme to support young people to develop new skills, which will help them move into sustained employment after they have completed their job placement. Thousands of jobs have already been created under the Scheme.
In this article, our Employment Law experts explore what employers need to know about the Kickstart Scheme and how to apply.
The Scheme is aimed at helping unemployed young people get a foothold on the career ladder by funding six-month job placements for 16–24-year-olds. Under the Scheme, the government will directly pay employers to create these placements. The Scheme is available in England, Scotland, and Wales, and referrals to the Scheme will run until December 2021.
Funding will cover 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage/National Living Wage for 25 hours a week, plus associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions. There is also funding available of £1,500 per job placement to cover the initial setup costs and the costs of training and support, but this is only available where an employer has made a successful application to the Scheme.
When the Scheme was launched, employer’s direct applications had to be for a minimum of 30 job placements. Whilst an employer could choose to partner with other organisations, this did create barriers for a lot of small to medium businesses. However, there is no longer a minimum number of placements required for the employer to make a direct online application to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) under the Scheme.
As well as accessing directly, an employer can choose to access the Scheme through a Kickstart gateway. These help an employer get a Kickstart Scheme grant and may also offer employability support to the young person on the Scheme. A Kickstart gateway will already have (or will be waiting on) a Scheme grant agreement. It can then add more employers and job placements to this grant agreement. The Scheme wages and costs are paid to the gateway, for it to pass on to the employer. Kickstart gateways can be any type of organisation. The DWP has performed due diligence checks on these organisations. Employers can find a Kickstart gateway here.
The application must include the following:
The set-up costs will be paid when an employer has confirmed that the person has started work, is enrolled on their payroll, and is being paid through PAYE. The DWP will pay the grant in arrears, using information from HMRC to check that the person is still employed.
During the placement, the DWP may contact the employer or employee to check the support they’re receiving to make sure the employee is getting the best experience from the Scheme.
Yes, the guidance makes it clear that once a placement has been created and a first successful applicant has completed the six-month term, the employer can take on a second worker on the placement.
Employers can get additional help by contacting either their local employer contact or the national employer contact if the business is located across several regions. The guidance states a reply should be received within two working days.
If you would like the guidance of our HR and Employment Law team about making the best use of the Kickstart Scheme in your business, just call our advice line on 0345 844 4848