Paul Holcroft, Associate Director at HR and employment law consultancy, Croner

Yesterday (2 Sept), the Kickstart job scheme opened to help get young people back into work, paying £1,500 to firms who agree to train 16-to-24-year-olds for six months.

Businesses are now able to sign up for the £2billion Kickstart scheme, giving unemployed young people the chance to get qualified on full pay.

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

£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.

The government grant will cover 100% of relevant NMW for 25 hours per week, as well as National Insurance contributions and pension 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 scheme is being run across several industries in England, Scotland and Wales and is open to all employers who meet the minimum requirements as follows; 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 DWP 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.

As employers were initially told to refrain from advertising any Kickstart roles pending the release of further information, employers can now make informed decisions as to which jobs to offer, if they qualify and how they should be advertising.

Paul Holcroft, Associate Director at HR and employment law consultancy, Croner

Check if you can apply for a grant as a representative of a group of employers through the Kickstart Scheme.

Other applications to the Kickstart scheme can be found here.

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