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What is the kickstart scheme and what are employers responsible for?

Image of 3 people talking, 2 young employees learning from a manager

If you’re an employer, you might already have heard of the Kickstart Scheme. It’s a scheme that was started by the UK Government, providing funding to employers to create jobs for 16 to 24-year-olds on Universal Credit who are at risk of long term unemployment.

What is the Kickstart Scheme?

For employers:

The Government started this scheme to encourage employers to help young people who are at risk of long term unemployment. Employers are able to apply for funding so that they can provide jobs to young employees and provide them with an opportunity to work. If you are able to provide opportunities for new 6 month placements to young people, you will receive full funding from the Government for the position. 

Employers can apply for funding that will cover;
• 100% of the National Minimum Wage (or the National Living Wage depending on the age of the participant) for 25 hours per week for a total of 6 months
• associated employer National Insurance contributions
• any relevant workplace pension contributions (automatic enrolment)

Employers will be able to get funding until 30th June 2022 if the young employee begins their job before 31st December 2021. There is also additional funding available to train and support young people so they can get jobs in the future. 

If you would like to apply to be part of the Scheme or you would like to add more employees to it, you need to contact your local employer contact (if located in a specific region) or national employer contact if you have business across multiple regions. 

You can find the Kickstart Scheme terms and conditions here and the guide for employers here.

For employees:

If you are at risk from long term unemployment then the opportunities provided by this scheme provide a great chance to develop your skill and experience levels, and be able to work within some of Britain’s most exciting companies. This experience can be invaluable, and there is also an opportunity to progress to an apprenticeship with the same organisation if positions are available.

You are eligible for the scheme if you are aged between 16-24, claiming Universal Credit, and may be at risk of long-term unemployment. Your local Jobcentre will be able to help you find out if you’re eligible and go through the specifics. 

The Government will be paying your wage (minimum wage) if you are part of the scheme, up to 25 hours a week. Employers can top up your wage if they choose to. 

This scheme can last up to 6 months. You can apply to the scheme by going through the eligibility criteria at your local Jobcentre, they will then be able to help you find roles being offered through the scheme and you will then be able to apply as a normal job application.

You are also allowed to finish one 6 month employment contract with one business using the Kickstart Scheme and then move to another company to complete another 6 months under the scheme. 

Recent changes in the Scheme

In January 2021, it was announced that employers are able to apply to the scheme without a minimum threshold of 30 jobs (which was a criterion originally), effective from the 3rd February. 

Employer responsibilities

The jobs created for the scheme must not replace existing or planned roles, or result in current employees/apprentices/contractors losing work or working hours. 

The job roles must be 25 hours a week for 6 months, pay the National Minimum Wage or the National Living Wage for the young employee’s age group, and they must only require basic training. 

As employers apply for the scheme, they will need to know the following for the application process to show how they will help their applicants to become more employable; 

  • What support they can offer
  • When the support will be offered
  • The hours the above will take
  • Who will be providing the support
  • How you will monitor it
  • How the young person can provide feedback and how this might be actioned after it’s been received. 

The result of this scheme is to make young employees more employable in the future. You might achieve this by helping them look for long term employment and giving them advice, or setting goals. Or you might provide help and advice with CVs and interviews. Or you might help them to develop their skills in the workplace. 

If you don’t think you can meet all of these responsibilities, there are other employment schemes you can register to be part of as an employer.

Kickstart guide 

We’ve worked with our friends over at Citation to provide this useful guide to give you all the information you need to know about the Kickstart Scheme.  

Our guide ‘Everything you need to know about the Kickstart scheme’ will cover what the scheme is, the funding available, the criteria that need to be met, the application process and much more!

Download the guide here

Training for young employees

If you would like to know more about the ways in which you can provide young employees with the training and skills they need to be able to be more employable in the future, our Workplace training and skills for young adults training bundle is the perfect way for employers to meet their responsibilities under the kickstart scheme. 

These courses will provide young employees with transferable skills that can be used in a range of industries and job roles and hopefully work to ensure that they remain in employment in the future. 

If you would like to know more about the training that you can provide young employees with, why not start a free, no-obligation trial

Workplace training and skills for young adults