The Kickstart Job Scheme is a feature of the Plan for Jobs set up by the government to tackle rising unemployment rates in the UK. The difficulty with which thousands of young people find in obtaining employment with limited work experience has been intensified by the damaging impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the job market, and has left young job seekers across the country searching for opportunities in a number of fields to get onto the job ladder.

The scheme, announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, will ensure that the government fully cover the wage of any ‘Kickstart’ employee by paying 100% of the relevant national minimum wage, boosting the prospects of the country’s future employment rates and the economy as a whole.

Who is eligible for the Kickstart Job Scheme?

Any organisation in England, Scotland or Wales, irrespective of size or location, can apply for funding through the Kickstart Scheme. Employer eligibility criteria is as follows:

  • Minimum of 25 hours a week
  • 6-month period
  • No prior training
  • National minimum wage

The application must also feature details of how you will help the individual with their skills and experience, as well as guidance with CVs, interview preparation, goal setting and career advice.

With regards to employee eligibility, businesses can offer job placements under the scheme to anyone between the ages of 16 and 24 who is claiming universal credit and at risk of long-term unemployment provided they are signing up via Kickstart rather than being recruited from an advertised position.

What it includes

Funding from the grant will cover 25 hours per week for a total of 6 months. You may choose to pay the employee more on top of this depending on the nature of the role and the hours required. The scheme also includes National insurance and pension contributions, as well as an initial £1,500 set-up cost to help with the cost of training, equipment and support during the placement.

The roles must be new and have been specifically created for the purpose of this scheme, not an existing position or to reduce the workload of other employees. Workers under this scheme are likely to have very little previous experience so it is important to note that they will require a lot of support and guidance throughout the process if the scheme is to be a success for both parties.

Whilst you are under no obligation to take on a Kickstart employee on a full-time basis, if you can find a position for the individual then you are welcome to offer them a permanent position. The Kickstart Job Scheme encourages employers to offer training and experience to its participants to make them more employable, and if this is successful it can become a great way to integrate a new employee into the business.

Why is Kickstart being introduced?

The coronavirus pandemic has been a crushing blow for unemployment rates in the UK. Between March and August the rate of people claiming unemployment benefits rose by a staggering 120% to 2.7 million, and with job prospects at a generational low it can be an extremely intimidating time for young people with limited experience to attempt to enter the job market.

The Kickstart programme gives young people aged 16-24 a unique chance to gain valuable experience and potentially secure long-term employment whilst the employer is being funded to provide the opportunities. There are currently over 800,000 people under the age of 24 claiming Universal Credit, and this scheme encourages employers to find positions within their organisations to allow young people to showcase their skills and develop their experience for a fixed-term whilst receiving the National Minimum Wage.

The scheme isn’t just a great lift for the young people of the UK, it is also beneficial for small businesses who have been hit hard by the impacts of the pandemic. Recruiting new staff was not previously financially viable, however the funding from this programme can be used to bring in new employees who could potentially have a long-lasting positive impact on the business and become full-time employees.

How to apply

The application process for Kickstart depends on how many positions you are creating. If you are creating in excess of 30 placements you can apply for the scheme directly , however if you are generating fewer than this number you must partner with another organisation or multiple organisations in order to assemble a group which can offer 30 placements combined. The reason for this is to make the process more efficient and streamlined, as it is anticipated that there will be a high uptake from employers and the government want to place emphasis on getting young people into appropriate Kickstart roles and allow them to gain experience as quickly as possible.

Other organisations could include small businesses, trade bodies, charities or local authorities. If you are forming a group one of the organisations will need to act as the representative who will proceed with submitting the application. The scheme is currently open until December 2021 with the possibility to extend this date beyond that, so now is a great time to explore the possibility of taking on a Kickstart employee and to reap the benefits of this new scheme.

You can find out more about the application process and submit your own application here.

Additional Information

Given the volatile situation the country currently finds itself in, thousands of people across the country have found themselves out of work as a result of the impact the pandemic has had on the economy, and many more face concerns about their long-term job security and prospects. This is also a difficult time for employees who have to protect the future of their business in the midst of a global pandemic.

The government have made a multitude of support packages (such as the Kickstart Job Scheme) available to employers in order to help and to sustain employment rates within the country, however finding time to assess the benefits of all of these can be a challenge for employers in any situation.

At TFMC we are here to help with all of your financial concerns or queries and will endeavour to support you in finding the optimal solution. Contact us on 0333 202 7198 or email to get in touch with our friendly and professional team and to find out how we can help.

Stuart Masters - Director at TFMC
Stuart Masters

Stuart has spent almost 20 years in accounting with a significant amount of time focused on Outsourcing and the provision of bookkeeping and financial management information for businesses.

Specialties: Bookkeeping, Management Accounts, Accounts Outsourcing, Business Development, Business Planning, Year End Accounts.