What is the Kickstart Scheme? 10 Top Questions Answered

The Kickstart Scheme is a new programme launched by the government to deliver funding for employers offering new job roles for 16-24 years olds who are currently in receipt of Universal Credit. The programme is aimed at preventing young people who are currently unemployed facing long term unemployment.

We have spoken to leaders from across the further education sector and employers looking to engage with the scheme. In this short guide we directly answer your top questions about the new Kickstart Scheme and how it works.

  1. What is the Kickstart Scheme eligibility?

Employers of all sizes are eligible to apply to the Kickstart Scheme. To be eligible, an employer has to create a new job role for an employee in the age range of 16 – 24 years old.

The previous requirement to create a minimum of 30 job placements is no longer applicable.

  1. What are the criteria for the new jobs?

The new jobs must be new roles that do not replace existing employment contracts. These placements can also not replace planned recruitment or be used to reduce working hours of other employees or make them unemployed.

The job role offered by the employer must offer at least 25 hours of work a week for 6 months. The employer must pay the National Minimum wage or National Living Wage or above and the role can only involve basic training.

  1. What will be the expectation on employers for careers support?

As part of the Kickstart Scheme employers must offer support in helping their young employee to find future roles or develop their employability more broadly. As such, employers will be expected to help employees on the scheme to develop their CV, learn new skills or gain improved understanding of entering the jobs market.

  1. What will the employer receive for participating?

For each job placement created, the employer will receive £1,500 in funding. This fund is to support the employer with initial costs associated with the role, as well as to provide the training and employability support required of the programme.

The Scheme will also cover the cost of the National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage for 25 hours per week for 6 months for each new job placement. National Insurance Contributions and minimum automatic enrolment contributions will also be funded by the scheme for each new employee.

As part of the scheme, employers are welcome to offer a higher wage or longer hours. However, these additions will not be funded by the Kickstart Scheme.

  1. When does the Kickstart Scheme start?

The Kickstart Scheme began on Wednesday 2nd September 2020, with employers currently able to apply and to offer new job placements under the scheme.

  1. When does the Kickstart Scheme end?

The Kickstart Scheme is due to end in December 2021. This means the start date of new job placements can begin in December 2021 at the latest. There is the potential for the scheme to be extended. However, no announcement has so far been made on a possible extension.

  1. How to apply for the Kickstart Scheme?

All employers can apply directly to receive the Kickstart Scheme grant directly via the gov.uk website. Once an application is successful an employer can add additional job placements to their agreement.

Employers can also apply via a Kickstart gateway. A Kickstart gateway is an organisation that already has a grant agreement with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). These organisations could include a trade association or a local authority. A Kickstart gateway will process the application for the employer with the DWP and then add any new job placements to their existing grant agreement.

  1. How long does the Kickstart Scheme application take?

The Kickstart Scheme aims to respond to all applicants within one month of an application for the Scheme being submitted. The response will confirm the decision on whether the application has been successful or not.

New job placements under the Kickstart Scheme should not begin until there has been approval under the scheme and a grant agreement has been processed by the DWP or Kickstart Scheme gateway.

  1. How does the Kickstart Scheme work?

Once the grant agreement has been approved a process for hiring the new recruits begins with the DWP. The employer will be required to produce job descriptions that will be shared with the DWP to be used by work coaches at JobCentre plus. The work coaches will identify candidates for the role and make selections for interview.

Following the initial identification phase, the employers will then have the opportunity to conduct interviews with all candidates identified by the work coaches at JobCentre Plus. The employer will make a decision on the preferred candidate following the interview process.

  1. Can additional job placements be added?

Yes. An employer can continue to add additional job placements under the grant agreement without applying again. Employers will need to contact the DWP or the Kickstart gateway to add the additional placements. The additional placements will be assessed to ensure they fulfil the eligibility of the scheme.

If you want to learn more about the kickstart scheme or the skills agenda in general then please take a look at the Higher and Degree Apprenticeships Conference 2021, taking place online on the 14th December below:

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