What is the Kickstart scheme?

The Kickstart Scheme is a £2 billion fund to create hundreds of thousands of high quality 6-month work placements for young people.

It was launched on the 8th July after the Chancellor announced the Kickstart Scheme as part of the Plan for Jobs. Funding available for each job will cover the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week. This will also include the associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions.

Young people must also be given wraparound support on their Kickstart placement to allow them to develop new skills. This support should also help them move into sustained employment on completion of their placement. There is additional funding available to support this.

By pledging to Kickstart Kent, Social Enterprise Kent will manage and deliver this wraparound support on behalf of your business.

Who can take up a Kickstart placement?

You can initially offer a Kickstart placement to young people aged between 16 and 24 who are on universal credit and ready for a work opportunity. They will be signposted to Kickstart placements by their Jobcentre Plus work coach.

In the future, the scheme might be opened out to a wider range of people.

By pledging to Kickstart Kent – we will help you navigate Jobcentre Plus recruitment and processes and keep you informed if eligibility criteria changes.

How many placements must a business offer?

To apply directly for Kickstart funding a business must be able to offer a minimum of 30 job placements and provide the mandatory wraparound support. You can apply directly through the Kickstart scheme government portal.

If you want to offer between 1-30 Kickstart placements, you must work through a Gateway. Social Enterprise Kent have established Kickstart Kent as a Gateway.

By pledging to Kickstart Kent, we would act as your employment support partner – checking eligibility, liaising with Jobcentre Plus and providing the mandatory wraparound support the young person receives on placement.  

How long does the scheme last for?

The first placements will start in November 2020 and run until December 2021.

You can apply for a Kickstart placement at any point during the duration of the scheme and can offer new placements as others end.

It is advisable to apply for the scheme as early as possible as you do not need to start placements straight away, just be committed to offering them during the life of the programme.

By pledging to Kickstart Kent – we will apply on your behalf and work to your timescale of offering an opportunity.

How long does the application process take?

Whether you apply directly or pledge to placements through a Gateway like Kickstart Kent, it takes approximately 6-10 weeks to confirm your organisation is eligible, identify suitable candidates, interview and commence employment through the scheme.

By pledging to Kickstart Kent – we will keep you informed on how the application is progressing and when to gear up for interview and employment. 

How is the payment structured?

Once a young person starts with you on the Kickstart scheme you will be committed to paying wages.

You pay wages to the young person as part of your normal payroll arrangements and the government reimburses you directly at month: two, four and six. The Government’s reimbursement covers 25 hours week at the appropriate age-related Minimum Wage, plus the associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions.

If you choose to pay the young person more than National Minimum Wage or offer them more than 25 hours a week, you will not be reimbursed for these additional costs.

If you are concerned about cashflow and receiving reimbursement of wages two months in arrears, you may be eligible for the Government’s Bounce Back Loan Scheme, where the first 12 months borrowing are interest free.

What does the wraparound support include?

Each person on a Kickstart placement must be developing new skills and receiving support to help them move into sustained employment on completion of their placement.

There is Government funding for each placement to cover the costs of the wraparound support and associated costs of employment.

The wraparound support must include work skills training on:

+ Attendance

+ Timekeeping

+ Communication

+ Teamwork

+ Travelling to work

+ CV and interviews

+ Looking for long-term work

What if I want to keep the young person past the six-months?

The Kickstart Scheme will give you the opportunity to bring new talent into your organisation. You may wish to hold onto, and further develop, this talent by offering young people an Apprenticeship or permanent position.

If this is the case, you can do so at any point during the placement or by agreeing a progression opportunity as the placement completes. If you move someone onto an Apprenticeship or into a full-time role before the placement has finished, you will no longer be eligible for reimbursement of wages from that point forward.

By pledging to Kickstart Kent – we will work with you and the young person as the placement nears its end to identify any suitable progression opportunities.