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Kickstart Scheme details

We have listed here as much information about the scheme as is currently available. The Department for Work and Pensions are providing regular updates on the scheme as it it rolls out. We will continue to update these pages with the most up to date guidance we have. If your question is not covered here please get in touch and we’ll do our best to help.

What is the Kickstart Scheme?

The Kickstart Scheme is a £2 billion fund to create hundreds of thousands of high quality 6-month work placements for young people.

It was launched on the 8th July after the Chancellor announced the Kickstart Scheme as part of the Plan for Jobs. Funding available for each job will cover the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus the associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions.

Young people must also be given employability support on their Kickstart placement to allow them to develop new skills and to help them move into sustained employment on completion of their placement. There is additional funding available to support this.

Who can take up a Kickstart placement?

You can initially offer a Kickstart placement to young people aged between 16 and 24 who are on Universal Credit and at risk of long term unemployment. They will be signposted to Kickstart placements by their Jobcentre Plus work coach.

In the future, the scheme might be opened out to a wider range of people including those not on Universal Credit or wider age groups.

How many placements must a business offer?

To apply directly for Kickstart funding a business must be able to offer a minimum of 30 job placements and provide the mandatory employability support. You can apply directly through the Kickstart scheme government portal

If you want to offer between 1-30 Kickstart placements, you must work through a Kickstart Gateway organisation. Kickstart SE is a Gateway organisation.

How long does the scheme last for?

The first placements will start in November 2020 and run until December 2021.

You can apply for a Kickstart placement at any point during the duration of the scheme and can offer new placements as others end.

How long does the application process take?

Whether you apply directly or pledge to placements through an intermediary, like Kickstart SE, it takes approximately 6-10 weeks to confirm your organisation is eligible, identify suitable candidates, interview and commence employment through the scheme.

How is the payment structured?

Once a young person starts with you on the Kickstart scheme you will be committed to paying wages.

You pay wages to the young person as part of your normal payroll arrangements and the government reimburses you directly at month: two, four and six. The Government’s reimbursement covers 25 hours week at the appropriate age-related Minimum Wage, plus the associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions.

If you choose to pay the young person more than National Minimum Wage or offer them more than 25 hours a week, you will not be reimbursed for these additional costs.

What does the employability support include?

Each person on a Kickstart placement must be developing new skills and receiving support to help them move into sustained employment on completion of their placement.

There is Government funding for each placement to cover the costs of this training and support and associated costs of employment.

The employability support must include work skills training on:

  • Attendance
  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Travelling to work
  • CV and interviews
  • Looking for long-term work

Kickstart SE will manage and deliver this mandatory support on your behalf. We are finalising our employability support programme and will be sharing this very soon.

What if the employer wants to deliver the employability support?

We know that social enterprises themselves offer some of the most supportive and patient employment opportunities in the UK. 

We know that many social enterprises have expertise in supporting career and personal development. 

For this reason we are interested in working with a small cohort of social enterprises to test an approach where the employability support is delivered in-house by the employer. 

Please speak to us if you are interested in exploring this model with us.

What if I want to keep the young person past the six-months?

The Kickstart Scheme will give you the opportunity to bring new talent into your organisation. You may wish to hold onto, and further develop, this talent by offering young people an Apprenticeship or permanent position.

If this is the case, you can do so at any point during the placement or by agreeing a progression opportunity as the placement completes. If you move someone onto an Apprenticeship or into a full-time role before the placement has finished, you will no longer be eligible for reimbursement of wages from that point forward.

Watch a movie about Kickstart!! cool