Government’s £2bn Kickstart scheme launches
Under the Kickstart scheme, young people aged between 16 and 24 on Universal Credit will be offered six-month work placements, with their wages paid by the government.
The scheme was announced in the summer budget by chancellor Rishi Sunak as part of his Plan for Jobs.
The government will fully fund each “Kickstart” job – paying 100% of the age-relevant National Minimum Wage, National Insurance, and pension contributions for 25 hours a week. Employers will be able to top up this wage.
The government will also pay employers £1,500 to set up support and training for people on a Kickstart placement, as well as helping pay for uniforms and other set up costs.
The aim is to give young people – who are more likely to have been working in sectors disproportionately hit by the pandemic – the opportunity to build their skills in the workplace and to improve their chances of finding long-term work.
Sunak said: “This isn’t just about kickstarting our country’s economy – it is an opportunity to kickstart the careers of thousands of young people who could otherwise be left behind as a result of the pandemic.
“The scheme will open the door to a brighter future for a new generation and ensure the UK bounces back stronger as a country.”
Businesses of all sizes looking to create jobs for young people can apply and there is no cap on the number of places. Household names including Tesco have already pledged to offer Kickstart jobs.
Young people will be referred into the new roles through their Jobcentre Plus work coach with the first Kickstarts expected to begin at the start of November.
The scheme, which will be delivered by the Department for Work and Pensions will initially be open until December 2021, with the option of being extended.
To help smaller businesses, employers offering fewer than 30 placements will be asked to make a bid through an intermediary, such as a local authority or Chamber of Commerce, who will then bid for 30 or more placements as a combined bid from several businesses.
This will make the process easier and less labour intensive to apply for these smaller companies who only want to hire one or two Kickstarters.
About 700,000 young people are set to leave education and enter the job market this year, with a quarter of a million more people aged under 25 claiming unemployment benefits since March.