Lawrence Stephens

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What is the government’s new Kickstart Scheme?

September 2020

Over the few months, businesses across the country have been navigating the reality of operating their businesses amidst a global pandemic. Despite the efforts made to smooth the transition and encourage workers back into the office or workplace, there remain significant challenges to overcome – particularly when it comes to staffing.

Amidst the growing possibility of workers developing COVID symptoms in colder months, and sudden travel restrictions requiring colleagues to isolate upon their return to the UK, a number of businesses have been looking to strengthen their workforce resilience without causing too much financial strain. 

Alongside the growing challenges faced by those already in work and keeping businesses afloat, there’s the added worry that the pandemic puts young and disadvantaged people at risk of long-term unemployment. In response, the government has launched a new Kickstart Scheme, which provides the funding employers need to create new 6-month job placements for young people who are currently on Universal Credit and struggling to gain long-term working opportunities. 

The scheme forms part of the government’s Plan for Jobs and aims to create thousands of new, fully funded jobs across England, Scotland and Wales, with the first placements expected to be available from November.

How the scheme works

The Kickstart Scheme funding covers:

  • 100% of National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus the associated National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions.
  • There is an additional £1,500 per job placement available to cover setup costs, support and training. 
  • There is expected to be extra funding available to support young people to build their experience and retain employment after they have completed their Kickstart placement. 

To obtain funding, businesses must apply for a grant here. Applications must be for a minimum of 30 job placements, and if businesses are unable to offer this many, they can partner with other organisations to reach the minimum number. These could include charities, similar employers, trade bodies or local authorities.

Despite each placement lasting just 6-months, once one participant completes their 6-month placement, another participant is then able to take up the role. 

How to apply

Any organisation, regardless of size, can apply for funding, but as mentioned, if they are creating fewer than 30 placements, then they would have to partner with another organisation to apply. 

The placements created with Kickstart funding must also be new jobs, and cannot replace existing or planned vacancies, or cause existing employees to lose or reduce their employment. For further information regarding eligibility, visit the government website here.

Applications made should state exactly how the business or organisation will enable participants to develop their skills and experience.  

Overall, there are a number of ways businesses can seek government support throughout this difficult time. For those committed to furthering others’ learning and development and that were perhaps unable to deliver their usual internship and apprenticeship schemes this year, the government’s Kickstart Scheme provides a viable opportunity. If you’d like to learn more about the scheme, or require advice regarding your application, please do not hesitate to contact me using the details below.