Understanding the Kickstarter Scheme

Written by Calvin Bowers

The Kickstart Scheme is a government job scheme announced in the summer of 2020. The scheme aims to prevent long-term unemployment in those aged 16-24 by providing 6-month work placements. This guide will break down what both employers and students, and graduates need to know about the Kickstart Scheme.

Our website, Embracing Future Potential, has more information on the Kickstart Scheme and has a tool for employers to help apply for Kickstart funding.

What is the Kickstart Scheme?

The Kickstart Scheme is a government initiative to help young people into work. The scheme will see the government cover the wages of work placements for up to 25 hours a week. Anyone between the ages of 16-24 who is on universal credit can apply for a Kickstart placement. Every Kickstarter will receive at least the national minimum wage.

The government set up the scheme in response to growing unemployment rates due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The government hopes that the work placements will help provide a head start in young people’s careers. As well as increasing their chances of finding long-term, meaningful employment after the scheme has finished.

What do employers need to know?

Employing a Kickstarter is a great way to support a young person struggling with unemployment while also gaining an extra free pair of hands for your business. The government will cover the Kickstarter’s wages for 25 hours a week, and you can hire them for more hours a week and cover the additional costs yourselves, but there is no obligation.

Some important things to note as an employer:

  • You will get a single payment of £1500 to help with the training and set up costs of your new hire.
  • The government will cover their wages and National Insurance Contribution.
  • As part of the scheme, you will also need to provide ‘wraparound support’ in the form of job and careers guidance to ensure that the young person can find full-time work after the scheme has finished. You can find help and guidance on the wraparound support on our website.
  • By hiring a Kickstarter, you will be making a significant contribution to the Covid-19 economic recovery and helping more young people off universal credit.
  • You cannot transfer existing employees onto the Kickstart scheme.

What do student and graduate job seekers need to know? 

Unfortunately, you have to be on Universal Credit to apply for a Kickstart placement which excludes all students. However, if you have recently graduated and cannot find work, you can access the Kickstarter Scheme.

There will be local work placements across the UK, to help you develop your essential skills and gain experience in the workplace.

Upon completion of your Kickstart placement, you might be able to continue with the company on an apprenticeship. To find out more about apprenticeships and the opportunities they bring, visit our sister website, Employing an Apprentice.

Last Updated: Wednesday March 31 2021
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