How can you and your employees benefit from the Kickstart scheme
The Kickstart scheme was launched by the Government to ‘help young people into work and spur Britain’s economic revival’. It is for young people aged 16-24 who are on Universal Credit and the Government has set aside £2 billion for the subsidized scheme. For each Kickstart job, the Government will pay 25 hours for 6 months of the age-relevant National Minimum Wage, National Insurance and pension contributions provided these employees are given quality positions with a minimum of 25 hours work a week for 6 months.
Employers have the option to top up this wage if they wish to and if businesses need more funding to help with support, training and the setup costs, the government will pay employers £1,500 per Kickstart employee.
The scheme is being delivered by the Department of Work and Pensions and is initially running until December 2021, with the option of an extension. The government expects to create approximately 350,000 jobs through the scheme.
Why does it only help employees aged 16-24?
Government figures show that a record 538,000 under-25s claimed Universal Credit during lockdown. This scheme is designed to ensure a whole generation isn’t left without work, and the jobs in the scheme are designed to help young people build their skills within the workplace, and improve their chances of finding long-term work.
How can businesses get involved?
One of the trickier elements of the application process for businesses is that it must be for a minimum of 30 jobs in order to apply directly. If you are looking to recruit more than 30 people you can submit a bid directly through the main Kickstart page here. However, if you are looking to hire fewer than 30 people, you will have to join forces with other SMEs to reach the 30 roles, through a Kickstart Gateway.
After you have completed your application through Kickstart, they will then apply to the government portal on behalf of your organisation. It can take 4-6 weeks to get approval from the government and after that the Kickstart team will deal with the Jobcentre on your behalf, as well as support the young person before, during and after their placement.
All schemes aimed at getting young people back into work and helping SMEs with the process are to be welcomed. However, we appreciate there are some potential stumbling blocks with this particular scheme, including the application process time and the minimum of 30 employees per application. The scheme is probably better suited to medium to large sized companies rather than small businesses or start-ups.
Businesses that are interested can now sign up to be part of the Kickstart scheme and get more guidance here.