For young people who have just graduated from college or university, the job market is currently an overwhelmingly competitive place.
Many students who were lucky to have a job lined up after uni have found they have been either put on hold or cancelled altogether. This has put thousands of people around the country in a more difficult situation then they had previously imagined.
Research has shown that periods of unemployment at a younger age can have a significant knock-on effect on both an individual’s confidence as well as their long-term financial stability. As many young people have lost their jobs or have been furloughed, there are more than 800,000 people under the age of 24 receiving Universal Credit. This is a significant rise from March when there were just below 500,000.
In an attempt to try and combat the huge number of young people who are now or may potentially find themselves unemployed soon, the government have proposed an initiative called the Kickstart scheme.
What is the Kickstart Scheme?
The Kickstart scheme will provide selected individuals aged 16-24 who are on universal credit and seen as at risk of long-term unemployment, with a 6-month work placement. This work placement will consist of at least 25 hours of work a week, to help young people gain skills, experience and confidence in the workplace. The aim of this is to equip individuals with desirable, transferable skills to stand them in better stead when applying for a job in the future.
How are people selected?
Staff at the local Jobcentres are tasked with identifying individuals who will benefit from being referred to the scheme. Unfortunately, it is not something you can simply sign up to, but your local Jobcentre contact should definitely propose your referral if they see fit.
Work coaches from the Jobcentre will support individuals before and after the work placement. Hopefully providing the right guidance to help land a permanent job after the work placement completion.
How is it funded?
The government will pay 100% of the National Minimum Wage relevant to your age, alongside the National Insurance and pension contributions for the 25 hours of work a week. Furthermore, employers can top up pay or extend the working hours if they want to do so.
In addition to covering the costs, employers can receive £1,500 to organise training, pay for uniforms, or any other necessary support. The £2 billion put aside for this scheme has taken these costs into consideration and has the potential to provide over 250,000 work placements.
Useful links and information
If you are a young person who would like to find out whether you are eligible for the scheme, we recommend speaking to your local Jobcentre.
If you are an employer keen to take part in the scheme, visit the government page to register your interest.