Kickstart, what is it and is right it for your business?

Launched in 2020 as part of the Chancellor’s ‘Plan for Jobs’, Kickstart aims to create thousands of high quality, 6 month work placements for people aged 16-24 who are currently claiming Universal Credit.

The ultimate goal is to help young people out of the risk of long-term unemployment and at the same time give employers the opportunity to access a willing workforce. Each Kickstart worker is fully funded by HM Government to work 25 hours per week, with the age appropriate minimum wage salary, National Insurance and pension contributions paid directly to the employer.

Employers will also receive £1,500.00 per placement to cover set-up costs, training and support.

Businesses can apply direct to the DWP or use an official Government Gateway such as the one operated by the FSB.

Oakleaf, the mental health charity based in Guildford set great store by the effectiveness of the programme, Jen Clay their Fundraising and Partnership Manager explained why they appreciate it so much

“The government Kickstart Scheme has been incredibly beneficial to Oakleaf. As a small local charity, our capacity is often stretched and this scheme has enabled us to employ more members of staff than previously possible, helping achieve our mission of supporting adults throughout Surrey with mental ill-health. At the same time we are able to help young people enter the world of work and encourage their development.”

Time is short though, with the scheme coming to an end in December 2021, although placements made in December will be able to complete their 6 month scheme. The best advice is to get your application in as soon as possible, some areas are already reporting waiting lists although these do appear to be clearing quite quickly.

Please remember, the scheme is designed to give young people the skills and experience required to help them find permanent employment, in many cases participants have gone on to be employed in full-time positions with their placement companies.

Businesses of all sizes can apply, there is of course a qualifying process and it is expected that successful companies will keep adequate records of training and development during the placements. Funding is only available if you appoint a young person introduced to you through the scheme and all funding is paid in arrears based on PAYE information provided by the employer to HMRC.

As with any Government scheme, there are processes to complete and rules to abide by, however in our opinion the Kickstart programme represents excellent value to employers and gives young people a genuine opportunity to enter or advance in the world of work.

The positive experiences reported by many businesses and the new employees suggest that Kickstart is a worthwhile initiative and in the vast majority of cases, it looks like a genuine ‘win-win’ situation.

If we can help with any practical advice about the scheme, please do not hesitate to call or email.


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