The government is urging all business owners to sign up to the new Kickstart Scheme to help young, unemployed people get back to work
The government Kickstart Scheme is designed to help young people most at risk of long term unemployment get into work. First announced last September, the Kickstart Scheme was revisited in January. Now big changes mean that small businesses can benefit alongside industry giants.
What is the Kickstart Scheme?
The scheme has high aims of boosting the economy while helping thousands of young people into employment.
Young people aged between 16 and 24 and claiming Universal Credit might be eligible for a new six month work placement at your company this year.
Jobcentre Plus staff will determine whether those young people are at risk of long term unemployment before supporting them through their placement. How they will decide who is eligible is the crucial missing piece of information.
The scheme runs until December 2021 and covers a range of different sectors in England, Scotland and Wales.
How does it help employers?
All employers can enjoy the benefits as the government has dedicated £2 billion to paying the wages of every Kickstart Scheme placement. The government has pledged to pay 100% of the age-relevant National Minimum Wage, National Insurance and Pension contributions for every employer, up to a cap of 25 hours a week.
Employers can choose to use their own money to extend the hours or increase the pay for their new co-worker.
The government will also offer every employer a grant of £1,500 to help with support, training and other costs.
Can I hire a graduate?
We don’t have all the information yet. But depending on the criteria that the Job Centre applies for determining those at risk of long term unemployment you may or not be able to get a graduate level employee.
Graduates may of course register for Universal Credit, but it will be the Job Centre staff who will identify people at risk of long-term unemployment and refer them to the scheme. This could mean that it’s largely young people with less practical skills, less work experience, and less education – this rules out grads.
Right now these important details are largely unknown so there is the possibility that with the right training and support you could gain a valuable team member for 6 months.
How do you get involved?
Applications are now open for employers. Any organisation can apply and where previously smaller organisations were barred from easy access, the latest update means that smaller employers can employ Kickstarters too.
In late January the government removed the 30 Kickstart placements cap, meaning that smaller businesses looking to employ one or two Kickstarters can benefit.
So all of the hassle around finding similar organisations and appointing a group representative has been removed!
This is a big win for small businesses – so I’d recommend taking advantage of it!
But it’s important to act fast. If you don’t get all of your ducks in a row and a placement lined up to start December 2021 at the latest, you could miss out on this scheme entirely.
What happens after?
After you’ve applied to join the scheme, your application will be reviewed by a panel. If it meets the criteria, you should know within a month. You will receive a letter with your grant agreement and more paperwork to fill out.
After everything has been approved your placement will be advertised via a new Kickstart portal and you will receive applications from Kickstart candidates. Next you can conduct interviews, review applications and choose who to employ.
If your company does not meet the requirements your application will be unsuccessful, but you can always apply again.
Where to look for help
If you’ve got any questions, keep an eye on the government website for any updates.
We will also be updating this article with any news, so stay tuned for our advice.