Kickstart Scheme - what employers need to know

The Kickstart Scheme was recently announced by the UK government and aims to create new job placements for 16-24-year-olds on Universal Credit. Paul Holcroft of Croner explains what employers need to know about the scheme.

UK Kickstart Scheme

What is the UK government’s Kickstart Scheme?

The Kickstart Scheme was announced by the UK government on 8 July and aims to create new high-quality jobs to help 16-24-year-old unemployed people on Universal Credit, covering participants' expenses for six months.

£2 billion is being invested in creating thousands of state-funded jobs for young people who are at risk of being in long-term unemployment. This will consist of a minimum of 25 hours work per week, paid at the National Minimum Wage (NMW), at the least. For each job placement, a government grant will cover:

  • 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week
  • the associated employer National Insurance contributions
  • employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions

In addition, the government will also pay employers £1,500 towards setting up, training for participants and other costs likely to be incurred by the employer.

The first placements are likely to be available from November 2020 and will be open until December 2021, with the option of it being extended.

Which employers are eligible for the Kickstart Scheme?

The scheme is being run across several industries in England, Scotland and Wales and is open to all employers who meet the minimum requirements. Employers must:

  • be an existing business with a track record of fiscal competence
  • apply with at least 30 new vacancies – not a replacement of an existing job and should not cause current staff to have a reduced workload
  • be prepared to offer at least 25 hours a week to participants for at least six months at the appropriate NMW for their age group
  • demonstrate the employability support they will provide to participants to give them the transferable skills needed to continue into gainful employment, training or education
  • demonstrate that the jobs they are offering are quality placements
  • show how they plan to monitor the progress of participants to the satisfaction of the compliance and quality requirements for the scheme – including participants' safety
  • show how publicity activities, such as branding, will comply with the Department for Work and Pensions publicity requirements

If employers are unable to achieve the 30 job placements minimum criteria, particularly smaller businesses who only want to offer one or two placements, they can partner with other organisations to reach the minimum placement requirement as a combined bid.

How do employers register for the Kickstart Scheme?

Employers can submit applications online, where they’ll need:

  • the Companies House reference number or Charity Commission number
  • the organisation address and contact details
  • details of the job placements and their location

Employers will also need to provide assurances that new jobs are being created and they will not affect current roles. You’ll also need to provide evidence that you’ll help the participants to develop their skills and experience.

All applications will be reviewed to check they meet the requirements of the Kickstart Scheme and will then go to a panel for consideration.

About the author

Paul Holcroft is Associate Director at Croner, a consultancy for HR, health and safety and reward.

See also

Coronavirus: back to the office FAQs

How to support workers without childcare

Working from home: what are the pros and cons for your business?

Find out more

Kickstart Scheme (GOV.UK)

Apply for a Kickstart Scheme Grant for Employers (GOV.UK)

Image: Getty Images

Publication date: 18 September 2020

Any opinion expressed in this article is that of the author and the author alone, and does not necessarily represent that of The Gazette.