Since lockdown, the number of under 25-year olds claiming benefit has doubled. Latest figures indicate that there are more than half a million people who fall into this category. The Government’s response has been to launch a new £2billion Kickstart Scheme, which has been described as an ‘innovative way to help young people into work and spur Britain’s economic revival’. We support this initiative and hope that lots of businesses sign up.
What is it?
The Kickstart Scheme has been designed to create new 6-month job placements for young people who are currently on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment. The job placements will give young people – who are more likely to have been furloughed, with many working in sectors disproportionately hit by the pandemic – the opportunity to build their skills in the workplace and to gain experience to improve their chances of finding long-term work.
How you can help?
If you own a business and would like to get involved in this innovative scheme so you can access the enormous pool of potential out there, all you need to do is confirm that you can:
- Support a minimum of thirty job placements (or less if partnering with another organisation)*.
- Provide Kickstarters with training, real work experience, guidance and support.
- Help them to build their professional skills.
…And then register your interest by visiting www.gov.uk/kickstart
The Scheme is open to businesses irrespective of size and there is no cap on the number of placements. Government funding is available for 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions.
Employers will be able to top up this wage, while the government will also pay employers £1500 to set up support and training for people on a Kickstart placement, as well as helping pay for uniforms and other set up costs.
You want to be involved but can’t offer 30 placements*
Please note that if you are unable to offer thirty job placements, you have the option to partner with other organisations, 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 for smaller companies who only want to hire one or two Kickstarters. Other organisations can include:
- Similar employers
- Local authorities
- Trade bodies
- Registered charities
- Chamber of Commerce
Special criteria for Kickstart Scheme
Please note that the job placements created with Kickstart funding must be new jobs and:
- Be a minimum of 25 hours per week, for 6 months
- Be paid at least the National Minimum Wage for their age group
- Should not require people to undertake extensive training before they begin the job placement
- Each application should include how you will help the participants to develop their skills and experience
Can I pick my own staff?
Essentially no. Jobcentre staff will identify people at risk of long-term unemployment to refer to the scheme, and Jobcentre work coaches will support candidates before and after their placement. You can of course select and interview from those who apply.
So, what are you waiting for? Isn’t it time that you got involved in the biggest package of support for youth unemployment in decades?