On Wednesday the 2nd of September, the much talked about Kickstart Scheme was finally launched by the Government.
We thought it would be an excellent opportunity to look at what the Kickstart Scheme is and what the advantages are for employers.
What is the Kickstart Scheme?
The Kickstart Scheme is a £2 billion fund introduced to create hundreds of thousands of high-quality six-month jobs for young people aged 16-24 at risk of long-term unemployment.
Why is the Government introducing the Kickstart Scheme?
The Government has chosen to roll out the Kickstart Scheme in light of the coronavirus pandemic that has severely impacted the UK economy.
Did you know?
Between March and May of this year, the number of people aged 24 or under claiming Universal Credit doubled from 250,000 to over half a million.
Why is the Kickstart Scheme good news for employers?
The money made available by the Government will be used to cover 100% of the National Minimum Wage (NMW) for 25 hours a week as well as the associated employer National Insurance contributions (NICs) and minimum employer pension contributions.
While employers can choose to top-up employee earnings if they wish, there’s no obligation for them to do so.
There is also a further £1,500 subsidy available per job placement to help with setup costs, support and training.
How does it work?
Eligible young people searching for jobs will be referred into the new roles through their work coach at the Jobcentre Plus.
The first Kickstarts are to launch in time for the start of November.
What is the qualifying criteria for the Kickstart Scheme?
Any organisation, big or small, can apply for funding. However, smaller businesses have challenged the likelihood of them being able to access the Scheme, given that there are a minimum number of places that companies will need to offer.
Companies will have to offer a minimum of 30 places. If they are unable to do so, they will be asked to bid via an intermediary such as a Local Authority, Chamber of Commerce or a training provider.
The intermediary will then bid for 30 or more placements as a combined bid including several different businesses.
Companies interested in taking part will have to prove that the jobs are of good quality, that there is an opportunity for progression and that the jobs wouldn’t have existed without the introduction of the Kickstart Scheme.
The roles must be for a minimum of 25 hours per week and run for no less than six months. They should also not require participants to take part in extensive training before beginning their placement.
How can companies apply for the Kickstart Scheme?
A company looking to create 30 or more job placements through the Kickstart Scheme can begin applying here.
Those looking to create fewer than 30 opportunities will not be able to apply directly. Instead, they can partner with other organisations or via an intermediary.
For more information, interested parties should contact their local or national Kickstart Scheme employer contract for help with getting a representative.
Who are the intermediary organisations?
Learning Curve Group (LCG) is an approved gateway organisation with a comprehensive service that gives businesses' applications the best chance of success. They also have a 100% approval rate to date.
LCG apply for placements and funding on behalf of companies, regardless of the number of opportunities they have within the organisation, severely reducing the administrative pressure on businesses.
Once the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) approves the application, Jobcentre Plus advertises the placement and then refer any suitable applicants to LCG.
Finally, when the recruitment and interview process has been completed, a company will then make the final decision.
The scheme also calls for mandatory employability training which includes CV writing and interview skills. LCG's access to government funds for training means they can also offer level 1 or level 2 sector accredited training to meet the needs of businesses at no additional cost.
"We are using kickstart as a way to support young people back into the workplace or in their first role.
"As the scheme offers 25 hours of subsidised wages, many of the roles we have established are of an administrative level in departments where they can gain the experience needed to make an informed decision about their future career goals.
"Should our first cohort go well, we’ve plans to expand the application to 42 roles across the LCG so we can help transform as many lives as possible.”
Louise Clough, Director of People at Learning Curve Group
What needs to be included in the application?
An application should include information about how the company is going to support participants with their development, skills and experience.
This includes support when looking for long-term work, career advice and goal setting, as well as with writing CVs and interview preparations.
How long will the Kickstart Scheme run for?
The Scheme is likely to run until the end of 2021. This means that once one participant has finished a six-month cycle, a second participant can be added.
Are apprenticeships eligible under the Kickstart Scheme?
The Kickstart Scheme is not an apprenticeship. However, participants can move to an apprenticeship at any time during or after their six-month placement.