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What you need to know about the Kickstart Scheme

The first Kickstart Scheme job placements are likely to be available from November, according to the government. 

Kickstart Scheme applications must be for a minimum of 30 job placements
Kickstart Scheme applications must be for a minimum of 30 job placements

As part of the government’s Plan for Jobs, the Kickstart Scheme will provide funding to employers to create new, six-month job placements for young people who are currently on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment.


The scheme aims to create hundreds and thousands of new, fully-funded jobs across England, Scotland and Wales. However, applications must be for a minimum of 30 job placements.


For each job placement, the funding will cover:

  • 100 percent of the relevant National Minimum Wage (NMW) for 25 hours a week;
  • The associated employer National Insurance contributions;
  • Employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions.

There is also £1,500 per job placement available for setup costs, support and training.


If an employer is applying on behalf of a group of employers, they can get £300 of funding for each job placement, to support with the associated administrative costs of bringing together these employers.


There will also be extra funding to support young people to build their experience and help them move into sustained employment after they have completed their Kickstart Scheme funded job.


Who can apply for funding

Any organisation, regardless of size, can apply for funding. The job placements created with Kickstart funding must be new jobs. They must not:

  • Replace existing or planned vacancies;
  • Cause existing employees or contractors to lose or reduce their employment.

The roles must be:

  • A minimum of 25 hours per week, for six months;
  • Paid at least the NMW for their age group;
  • Should not require people to undertake extensive training before they begin the job placement.

Each application should include how the employer will help participants develop their skills and experience, including:

  • Support to look for long-term work, including career advice and setting goals;
  • Support with CV and interview preparations;
  • Supporting the participant with basic skills, such as attendance, timekeeping and teamwork.

Once a job placement is created, it can be taken up by a second person once the first successful applicant has completed their six-month term.


Kickstart is not an apprenticeship, but participants may move on to an apprenticeship at any time during, or after their job placement.


The scheme, being delivered by the Department for Work and Pensions, will be initially open until December 2021 with the option of being extended.


Young people

As for apprenticeships, the government has introduced an incentive for employers to hire new apprentices.


Employers who hire a new apprentice between August 1 2020 and January 31 2021 will receive £2,000 for apprentices aged 16 to 24 and £1,500 for apprentices aged 25 and over.


The government will make this payment in addition to the £1,000 employers already receive for hiring an apprentice aged 16 to 18, or under 25, with an education, health and care plan or has been in the care of their local authority.


Payments will be made in two equal instalments: 50 percent after the apprentice completes 90 days of their apprenticeship and the remaining 50 percent after the apprentice completes 365 days. To receive the full payment, the apprenticeship must last for at least one year.


The payment is different to apprenticeship levy funds, so employers can spend it on anything to support their organisation’s costs. For example, on uniforms, an apprentice’s travel or salary. It does not have to be paid back.


Employers can apply for an incentive payment after they have added new apprentices to their apprenticeship service account.

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