Since the first national lockdown in March, the government have implemented several schemes to provide financial support to businesses and workers and help boost the economy.
However, even with the Job Retention Scheme, and countless others, the level of unemployment in the UK has reached a record high with 538,000 under-25s claiming Universal Credit (as of September 2020).
As a result, the government have launched a £2 billion fund aimed at decreasing these figures and tackling the issue of unemployment amongst young people.
What is the Kickstart Scheme?
The Kickstart Scheme, which launched in early November 2020, is an innovative method of helping young people who are on Universal Credit get into, or back into, employment.
The government will fund 100% of job placements for 16-24-year olds through this Scheme, covering National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, National Insurance and pension contributions so there is no cost for the business that is employing them.
Businesses do have the option to offer more than National Minimum Wage and more than 25 hours a week, but the government funding will not cover this; therefore, the business will have to pay the difference.
The terms of the Kickstart Scheme are simple:
- The young person must work a minimum of 25 hours a week for 6 months
- The work placement must not be for a role that has already been advertised
- The placement must not cause existing employees or apprentices to lose or reduce their employment
- The role should not require extensive training before the placement can start
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) also states that each job placement needs to help the young person become more employable which could mean offering support with CV and interview preparations, developing their skills in the workplace and career advice/goal setting to help them find long-term employment.
Which employers and businesses can apply for the Kickstart Scheme?
The Scheme is open to all businesses in the UK no matter the size or the industry, and there is no cap on the number of placements either.
As long as the roles meet all of the terms as outlined above, you are free to start applying now.
The Benefits of the Kickstart Scheme for Businesses
Clearly, the Kickstart Scheme will help a lot of young people get back into employment, but this is also a great opportunity for businesses and employers.
- Zero Wages: There is no cost to the business as the placement is fully funded by the government which means you are getting additional labour with no additional wages
- Boost Growth: If your business is still growing and there is a need for more staff and support, then this is a quick and easy way of getting that additional support
- No Long-Term Commitment: Each placement is only for 6 months so if you only need additional support during a busy period you don’t have to commit to employing someone on a long-term basis
- Financial Reward: Provided all of the criteria are met, the employer will receive a £1,000 grant for every successful job placement
- Positive Reputation: Being part of such a scheme will also reflect positively on your business which is just a bonus
Each employer will also receive £500 worth of employment skills training for the employee and employability support during the 6 month placement.
How does the Kickstart Scheme work?
To put your business forward for the Kickstart Scheme, you will need to complete an application form which then gets assessed by the DWP.
It will then be passed to the local Jobcentres who will vet the candidates and put forward those most suitable for the role. You can then move forward with your usual recruitment process, hiring the best candidate for a 6-month work placement.
After the 6 months, businesses then have the option of offering the young person a permanent contract or filling the role for a further 6 months with a new Kickstarter.
It is also important to note that a Kickstart Scheme application must be for a minimum of 30 work placements, so if you cannot provide this many roles then you will need to seek the support of a Kickstart Gateway, such as ourselves.
What happens if a Kickstart Scheme placement doesn’t work out?
Although the Scheme is designed to be a success, there are many factors that could affect whether a placement comes to an end before the 6-month period is up.
Regardless of the reason for terminating the work placement early, if things don’t work out, then you will not need to pay back any of the funding you have received thus far; however, you won’t receive any further PAYE for that young person and you will be advised to fill that role with someone else on the Kickstart Scheme for another 6 months.
The DWP will most likely enquire as to why the placement ended early, and may conduct an investigation if there is a pattern of this within a particular business.
We can help your business apply for the Kickstart Scheme
As an official Kickstart Gateway, we can manage the entire application process for you whether you are looking for 2, 10 or 50 work placements.
Our expert recruitment partner can support you with your Kickstart application, help you find the right candidate for the work placement, and provide them with training to enhance their employability skills. This includes offering CV advice and conducting mock job interviews, assistance with looking for long-term employment and providing industry-approved online training courses.
With our support, we can guarantee a smooth and easy experience on the Kickstart Scheme with the process expected to take 4-6 weeks from the date of application.
If you have any questions about the Kickstart Scheme or the support we can provide, then call us on 0845 2626 260 or email us at [email protected]