(Updated February 2020)
The government has opened the Kickstart Scheme, which makes funding available for employers in England, Scotland and Wales to help provide jobs for 16-24 year olds. Key things about the scheme:
- The funding on offer is to pay the National Minimum Wage for a placement of at least 25 hours a week (which can be increased by the employer) for a minimum of 6 months.
- The funding also covers NI contributions and Employer minimum automatic pension enrolment contributions.
- The job must be new and cannot replace existing vacancies (or result in existing employees or contractors losing their jobs).
- The job should not require extensive training before the placement can start.
- Employers of any type and size can apply for funding under the scheme, but if one Employers can only offer less than 30 placements, the employer must join forces with another employer or employers and make a group application (see below).
- The scheme applies to England, Scotland and Wales.
How do Employers apply?
You can directly apply to the government for Kickstart funding if you’re creating 30 or more scheme placements.
If you are creating fewer than this, you have to find other businesses to partner with, until you have a combined total of 30 or more placements. You can approach other businesses directly or register your interest in partnering with others via your local chamber of commerce or local authority – the government has provided a list of regional contacts here.
In the application you must set out details of the job placements and where they will take place and also show how you will help young people develop their skills and experience.
The government aims to respond to Kickstart applications within one month.
If you are successful, you receive a letter and a grant agreement. You must sign and return the grant agreement before any job placements can begin. Payments will be made in arrears.
The government will find the young people who meet the eligibility requirements and match the skills you need. The young people will then apply to you, and you can decide who to appoint. Employers will only receive Kickstart funding if they appoint a young person the government has introduced to them.
January 2021 update:
Figures released from the Department for Work and Pensions have shown that, as of 15th January, there had been less than 2,000 young people who had started placements.
The Government then announced that from 3rd February 2021, the eligibility requirements for small businesses would change, allowing them to directly access the scheme if they could not take on 30 or more trainees, rather than having to go through a local authority, charity or trade body (‘gateway’ organsations). Small employer can still use the gateway organisations to access funds if they wish.