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Kickstart Scheme

What is the Kickstart scheme?

The Kickstart scheme was announced by the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, in July 2020 as part of his “Plan for Jobs

Under the scheme, employers can offer six-month placements to help 16–24-year-old unemployed people on Universal Credit who are at risk of long-term unemployment.. The job placements must be roles that are in addition to the current workforce. In addition, employers are expected to develop the skills and experience of the participant in areas such as looking for long-term work, including advice on their career and setting goals; support with CVs and interview preparations, and also basic skills such as attendance, timekeeping and teamwork. Applications for funding need to include details on how this support will be provided.

The scheme covers 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours’ work per week, as well as employer’s National Insurance contributions and employer minimum auto-enrolment pension contributions. Employers are able to top up the payment or offer a higher number of working hours, but the excess will not be covered by the funding.

The Government also pays employers £1500 towards setting up support and training for those on the Kickstart placement. This payment can also be used to pay for uniforms and other necessary start up costs. Employers who take part in this scheme can hire a second Kickstart participant into the same placement after the first participant has completed their six months.

What are the eligibility requirements for the Kickstart scheme?

To be eligible for the scheme, employers must:

  • be an existing company/organisation with a track record of fiscal competence

  • offer a vacancy/vacancies which are new and not a replacement of an existing job, or cause current staff to have a reduced workload

  • be prepared to offer at least 25 hours a week to participants who are paid at the appropriate NMW for their age group, for at least six months

  • demonstrate at application stage what 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 — both “meaningful” and “suitable” — that will benefit the participant in future

  • show how they plan to monitor the progress of participants to the satisfaction of the compliance and quality requirements for the scheme — covering participants’ safety, employer liability insurance, risk assessments for the vulnerable, and Disclosure and Barring Services for 16–17-year-olds

  • show how publicity activities, such as branding, will comply with the DWP publicity requirements.

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