The idea is that a young person at risk of long-term unemployment gets a placement and some valuable experience/training while the employer gets additional resource that the Government foots the bill for.
What is the Kickstart Scheme?
In short, it’s a £2 billion investment by the government to try and prevent young people in a difficult jobs market from becoming reliant on Universal Credit over the long term. Essentially, the Government wants employers to create 6 months work placements for those aged between 16 and 24 and at risk of long term unemployment.
The Government is going to pay employers directly to the tune of the minimum wage, National Insurance contributions and pension contributions (based on a 25/week placement).
How will the six-month wage scheme work?
The scheme is set to open in August, costing the state an average of £6,500 for each job. But Mr Sunak hopes it will trigger a mass hiring spree by firms. Employers will be able to offer a six-month work placement for people aged between 16 and 24 who are claiming Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment.
Which employers can apply for the Kickstart Scheme?
The Government is encouraging all businesses to apply to take on a young person for 6 months
How do employers apply for the Kickstart Scheme?
We don’t have an application portal yet, it was supposed to start from Aug 2020. But during his speech, Sunak said employers would be able to apply “next months” so we assume more information will be available soon.
Do you have to employ Kickstarters after the 6 months?
No. It doesn’t appear that there will be any such requirement. The wording of the documentation we have seen so far and of Sunak’s speech implies it’s more about setting these Kick-starters up with the skills, confidence and work experience to help them secure work later. Though you would be able to offer permanent roles to them should you wish.
Who does the Government pay?
The Government is going to pay the employer directly to the tune of a minimum wage, National Insurance Contributions and Pension Contributions for 25 hours per week. Bear in mind that the Kickstarters will all be aged 16 to 24 and as such the minimum wage varies.
What do employers have to offer?
There is no formal documentation on this at the time of writing. But placements of this nature are not intended just as free labour, of course. You should be offering training, real work experience and helping these young people to build their professional skills.
Are there any negatives?
Yes, of course. Given the people this scheme is designed to helped are all likely to be new to the workforce (possibly just out of school, college or university), they’re not likely to have much work experience. Don’t forget to consider just how much time and resource you’ll need to put into mentoring, training and supporting this individual.
So do weigh up carefully if this is something that’s right for your business and have a clear idea from the outset as to what skills you can equip them with.
Are all 16 to 24 year olds on Universal Credit eligible?
The Chancellor said this is for 16 to 24 year olds on Universal Credit “at risk of long term unemployment.” It isn’t yet clear whether that means all 16 to 24 year olds on Universal Credit or whether other criteria will apply.
Can you interview prospective Kickstarters?
Again, we don’t know. It seems fair to assume so and also to assume some degree of a say over what skills might be useful in a Kickstarter. When you take Apprentices on, you can specify and interview.
What happens if it does not work out with a Kickstarter?
It’s a fair assumption, much as is the case with Apprentices, that you’ll be able to terminate the placement. But again, lots is still to be confirmed.