The Kickstart Scheme was announced by the Chancellor in July as part of his “Plan for Jobs” initiative. It is aimed at creating new jobs to help 16-24 year old unemployed people claiming Universal Credit who are at risk of long-term unemployment.

Applications opened on the 2nd September 2020 and will be open until December 2021, with the option of it being extended. The first placements are likely to be available from November 2020.

Businesses will receive funding from the Government to cover some employment costs, including wages.

The Government will pay £1,500 to employers to help towards setting up support and training for those on the Kickstart Scheme. This payment can be used to pay for uniforms and other necessary start-up costs. The scheme will also cover 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage (NMW) for 25 hours’ a week, as well as employer National Insurance contributions and minimum auto-enrolment pension contributions.

Currently, the hourly NMW rates are:

  • Ages 16 – 17: £4.55
  • Ages 18 – 20: £6.45
  • Ages 21 – 24: £8.20

Employers are able to top up the payment, this will not be covered by the funding.

With regards to the number of “Kickstarters” you can hire, the published list of minimum requirements stipulates that at least 30 placements must be offered, which should be new and not a replacement of an existing job, or cause current staff to have a reduced workload.

Additional minimum requirements include:

  • being an existing company with a track record of fiscal competence
  • being prepared to offer at least 25 hours a week to participants, for a minimum of 6 months, who are paid at the appropriate NMW for their age group
  • participants to give them the transferable skills needed to continue into gainful employment, training, or education
  • demonstrating that the jobs they are offering are quality placements – both “meaningful” and “suitable” – that will benefit the participant in future
  • showing how they plan to monitor the progress of participants to the satisfaction of the compliance and quality requirements for the scheme
  • showing how publicity activities, such as branding, will comply with the DWP publicity requirements

If you are unable to offer 30 job placements, you can partner with other organisations to reach the minimum placement requirement. A representative of the group must then be nominated, who will check that all job placements are eligible for the scheme and submit the application on the group’s behalf.

Applications can be made via the government website, more guidance for employers can be found here…https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-you-can-apply-for-a-grant-through-the-kickstart-scheme