Officially launched on the 2nd of September, this GB-wide scheme aims to provide young people (16-24) at risk of long-term unemployment with a paid job. It has been designed to give young people the chance to build their confidence and skills in the workplace and to gain experience that will improve their chances of progressing to find long-term, sustainable work. Northern Ireland is planning to launch its own version of the scheme.  

What is covered?

Funding available for each job will cover, as a minimum, the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus the associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions. An additional £1500 per person is available to cover set up costs, support and training.

Can this be topped up?

An employer who chooses to offer more than 25 hours or pay more than the minimum wage can do so but they must cover additional costs themselves.

Is training involved?

It is expected that there is an induction (for example, to understand expectations and standards of the role, Health and Safety rules, etc) and on the job training as a standard provision on taking up the post. Outside the 25 hours of work a week, DWP also expect employers to support young people to develop new skills and to help them move into long-term, sustainable employment whilst they are employed in their Kickstart job. This activity includes work-search support such as CV writing, interview skills and preparation for other job applications. The additional £1500 is also intended to help cover these employment costs. This work search support can be delivered in-house or contracted by the employer to an external provider.

Can anyone apply for the posts?

Initially these posts are only available to young people claiming Universal Credit who are at risk of long term unemployment. DWP have signalled that in early 2021 the criteria will be expanded to include 16-24 year olds not in receipt of benefits.

How many vacancies does an employer need to have to be involved?

An employer can have a single vacancy or limitless. For employers with between 1-29 opportunities in their business, they are free to create their own consortia, or they can either find out who their local gateway organisations are through the database on the Kickstart Scheme – GOV.UK website or contact their local jobcentre for this information. Local authorities and Chamber of Commerce, for example, have already confirmed their intention to act in this capacity. For those organisations with 30+ vacancies, they can deal directly with Job Centre Plus.

[NB: the word “intermediaries” has been replaced with “gateway organisations” as it was felt that this was an easier explanation of their role]

What is a gateway organisation?

These are organisations that must fulfil certain criteria before being accepted in this role. They must have experience of managing partnerships agreements with third parties and they must have robust financial and governance processes to manage a Kickstart application.  Their role in this scheme is to work with a collection of employers to build a bank of 30+ vacancies.  They act as the gateway organisation between JCP and the employers.  A wide variety of private, public and voluntary/charitable organisations have been registered for the scheme to date.  They will receive a payment of £300 when each young person starts their Kickstart job.

How are gateway organisations identified?

DWP has launched a database of gateway organisations, at national level and within Scotland, Wales and England, on the Kickstart Scheme -GOV.UK website; the list will be revised and updated on an ongoing basis.  In addition, most gateway organisations are reaching out to their employer network to promote the scheme. 

What if there is no gateway organisation in my area?

The DWP database of gateway organisations provides details at national level and within Scotland, Wales and England, so hopefully, there will be at least one organisation in your local area. Participation is not limited by geography, however. For example, if an employer on an island wishes to participate, they can reach out to a gateway organisation anywhere in Great Britain to become involved. Similarly, national organisations can link with a single intermediary in England for positions in Scotland and Wales.

How long will the scheme run?

The first vacancies are expected to go live in November and it is anticipated that the scheme will remain open until December 2021, with the final cohort of 6 month roles coming to an end in Summer 2022.