The £2 billion Kickstart scheme was launched in September 2020 and allows employers to offer young people on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment, state-subsidised work placements for six months. An average of 3,600 young people a week are currently starting new placements under the scheme.
Any employer, regardless of size, can apply for funding. New applications to the scheme will close on 17 December 2021. Employers will also be unable to add more jobs to an existing grant application after this date. Employers that make a successful application before the deadline can spread the job start dates until 31 March 2022.
The Kickstart scheme is available to qualifying 16 to 24-year-olds in England, Scotland and Wales. Under the scheme, the government will fully fund each “Kickstart” job by paying 100% of the age-relevant National Minimum Wage, National Insurance, and pension contributions for 25 hours a week. Employers will be able to top up this wage and offer Kickstarters training and support to find a permanent job. The government will also help by paying employers £1,500 to set up support and training for people on a Kickstart placement.
It is important to note that the job placements created with Kickstart funding must be new jobs. They must not replace existing or planned vacancies or cause existing employees or contractors to lose or reduce their employment.