What is the kickstart scheme and how does it work?

The Kickstart Scheme provides funding to create new job placements for 16 to 24 year olds who are on Universal Credit and at risk of long term unemployment. Employers of all sizes (including start-ups) are able to apply for the funding which covers:

  • 100% of the National Minimum Wage(or the National Living Wage depending on the age of the participant) for 25 hours per week for a total of 6 months
  • associated employer National Insurance contributions
  • employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions

Employers can spread the start date of the job placements up until the end of December 2021. Further funding is also available to provide support so that young people on the scheme can get a job in the future.

What are the benefits to my business of employing through the kickstart scheme?

Along with the fact that you are teaching local young people crucial skills within the workplace, the kickstart scheme also provides numerous advantages to your business. The funding covers 100% of the National Minimum/Living Wage for 25 hours per week for a total of 6 months, as well as all associated employer National Insurance Contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions. Please note that employers are welcome to pay more than the National Minimum/Living wage, or contract the individual for additional hours, but this increase will not be covered by the scheme.

You will also receive £1,500 per job placement to spend on both setup costs and support for the young person. For example, a business can use this £1,500 towards training and employability support, IT equipment, uniform and/or Personal Protective Equipment.

Finally, if the kickstart gateway responsible for you does not pay VAT, an additional £60 (on top of the £1,500) will also be contributed to further support the young person.

How do I know if the vacancy which I have in mind is suitable?

In order for the vacancy to be eligible, it must be a new position. This means that the position in question must not:

  • replace existing or planned vacancies, or
  • cause existing employees, apprentices, or contractors to lose work or reduce their working hours.

Additionally, the job placement must provide the individual with a minimum of 25 hours work per week and must pay at least the National Minimum/Living Wage for the individuals age group. The position must also be one that only requires basic training to complete.

What will be required by me as an employer?

The purpose of the kickstart scheme is to help these young people to become more employable. Hence, you must do just that – employers will be required to help the young person develop employability skills and assist them in looking for long-term work. A few ways to do this include, providing career advice, setting goals, assistance with their curriculum vitae (CV) and developing their skills in the workplace.

After the initial 6-month period, the young person will hopefully have developed enough workplace skills to move onto another employment scheme.

My business is eligible, what do I need to provide?

You will need:

  • your Companies House reference number, Charity Commission number or Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator number, if you have one
  • your organisation address and contact details
  • details of the job placements and their location

The DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) performs due diligence checks on all employers and Kickstart gateways.

How and when will I receive the funding?

For applications which are done online, the Department for Work and Pensions will send the funding directly to you. However, if you apply through a Kickstart gateway, DWP will send the funding to them. The Kickstart gateway will then be responsible for sending the funding to you.

Funding type When funding is processed When you will receive the funding
Setup costs After you or your gateway has told DWP the young person has started Up to 11 working days after it’s been processed
First wage payment 6 weeks after the start date Up to 11 working days after it’s been processed
All other wage payments 4 weeks after the previous wage payment Up to 11 working days after it’s been processed

Information from HMRC will be used to check that the young person is still employed throughout the placement. The grant funding to pay the young person’s salary will be paid in monthly arrears when they are:

  • enrolled on your payroll
  • being paid through Pay As You Earn (PAYE)

What happens if the young person leaves the placement early?

As an employer, it is your responsibility to inform DWP as soon as possible if a young person either:

  • leaves their job placement before the end of the 6-month period
  • needs to temporarily leave their job placement (for example for special leave or coronavirus-related restrictions)

If a young person leaves their job placement early, the next scheduled wage payment from DWP will be the last you receive for them. However, DWP may be able to extend the funding period if the young person has to temporarily stop working.

I am interested, how do I apply?

If you have a suitable position in mind, you can apply online by clicking here.

I would like to work with Wigan Council to recruit a local kickstart job placement, how do I do this?

You can register your interest here. You will then be asked to complete a more detailed application which will be considered by Wigan Council’s Kickstart panel for suitability.

If you have any questions about the content in this article please contact your usual Partner or Manager, or call us on 01942 242 245, and we will be happy to help.