On 8 July, the Chancellor announced a new employer initiative aimed at creating 6 month paid work placements for young people who are at risk of long-term unemployment as a result of the pandemic – the Kickstart Scheme.
Read this factsheet to understand the Kickstart Scheme and what it means for your business. From what jobs are eligible for the scheme, to additional financial support available for your business if you host a ‘Kickstarter’, discover the answers to the top questions businesses are asking.
What’s the latest information and insight?
On 2 September, the government officially launched the Kickstart Scheme and the online portal is now open for applications. The scheme covers England, Scotland, and Wales (with funding made available for a similar scheme in Northern Ireland). For each Kickstart job, the government will cover the cost of 25 hours’ a week at the relevant National Minimum Wage in addition to pension and National Insurance contributions. Employers will also receive £1,500 per placement for wraparound support for the young person, including personal development and employability skills.
The scheme is currently due to run until December 2021 with the possibility of an extension. The government has also now published new guidance following consultations with employers throughout July and August. The CBI has been working closely with DWP and the Treasury since Kickstart was announced and will maintain a process of continuous feedback as the scheme gets underway.
Read the government’s latest guidance for employers and more information about becoming a representative or intermediary. You can also now submit an expression of interest on behalf of your organisation to host Kickstarters. Where the guidance does not clarify outstanding questions, the CBI is following up with the government to issue further clarification in subsequent guidance.
The CBI/Pertemps latest Employment Trends Survey found that 1 in 10 firms (10 per cent) intend to use the Kickstart Scheme to create additional jobs for young people.
Is the Kickstart Scheme right for my business?
The Kickstart Scheme is open to businesses of all sizes and across all sectors – anyone can apply.
The CBI recognises that this is an incredibly challenging time for many employers. While some may not be in a position to host young people in additional roles right now, others may benefit from increasing their headcounts over the next few months. This could be to meet increased business demand in some areas, or to contribute to wider priorities around diversity and inclusion, or social mobility, within their organisations.
While many firms are supportive of the scheme’s aims and principles, there are still some outstanding questions which the CBI is working with the government to resolve.
Kickstart: frequently asked questions
1. What’s the eligibility criteria for new jobs created under the scheme?
The government wants to encourage businesses across all sectors to apply to the scheme. However, there are a few stipulations which employers need to adhere to in order to receive the wage subsidy. The Kickstart Scheme job placements must:
- Last six months
- Be at least 25 hours per week (employers can top-up wages if the role is over this)
- Include support for young people to help them get work after they finish their Kickstart Scheme job (if not taken on longer term following the placement)
- Be ‘additional’ – this means the job would not exist without Kickstart Scheme grant funding and must not replace existing/planned jobs or cause existing employers or contractors to lose of reduce their employment.
Outside of these criteria, the employer can choose to create additional roles in any part of their business. However, it is worth keeping in mind when scoping potential new roles that this might be the first paid job a young person on the scheme has ever had. These jobs only need to last 6 months and you are under no obligation to provide a full-time role for the young person once the placement has ended.
When submitting an expression of interest, you will be asked to provide some details about the types of roles you are planning. You will also be asked for further information to show your job placements are just for the Kickstart Scheme e.g. will not replace existing or planned vacancies, cause existing employees/contractors to lose or reduce their employment, and in what region they are likely to be based in (more details in question 2 below).
Once you submit an expression of interest, DWP will aim to get back to you within 30 days to discuss your application further. It is important to note that it is not a competitive process and an expression of interest is the start of a conversation between your organisation and DWP on how best you can support.
2. How can my organisation evidence that these new jobs are ‘additional’?
For those organisations applying directly, you will be asked to provide supporting evidence how these roles are additional within your organisation. You can do this by submitting the following information:
- Any changes to your workforce in the last six months and why (for example redundancies and changes to hours worked by existing staff)
- The number of people affected by changes to your workforce in the last six months as well as the size of your overall workforce
- The kinds of roles, functions and average salary of those who were made redundant or who had their hours reduced in the last six months
- If you would be able to create these job placements without Kickstart Scheme funding and what funding source you would use
- What recruitment you have completed, started or paused in the last six months, including how similar these vacancies are or were to the roles you are creating for the Kickstart Scheme
- If the job placements will be similar to existing or planned roles or the roles previously done by those made redundant or with fewer working hours, why you are using Kickstart Scheme funding to create similar roles
- If you’ve engaged with any relevant trade unions and any advice they have given.
If you are applying through a Kickstart gateway, they can support you to evidence this (please see question 3).
3. My organisation can provide additional roles and wants to take part in the Kickstart Scheme – how do we apply?
Make your communications regular, targeted and clear
The government application process features two pathways for applicants – those who plan to take on 30 or more ‘Kickstarters’ over the lifetime of the scheme, and those who plan to take on fewer than 30.
If your organisation is creating fewer than 30 job placements, you cannot apply directly, but you can do so through a Kickstart gateway or employer representative who will act on your behalf and apply for a Kickstart Scheme grant for you.
- Gather information from you about the job placements you’d like to offer
- Use this information to submit an online application on behalf of a group of employers
- Pass on the relevant payments made by DWP to you (for example the young person’s salary).
They may also:
- Share their expertise with you to help you onboard and train young people employed through the scheme, for example supporting those with particular disadvantages or working in certain sectors
- Provide employability support directly to young people employed through the scheme.
Local authorities, charities and Chambers of Commerce have signed up to act as intermediaries for organisations looking to provide fewer than 30 placements. A full list of registered gateway organisations across England, Scotland and Wales are now available.
You can also apply to be an employer representative, and work on behalf of other employers, to make up the 30 job placements.
If your organisation plans to take on more than 30 ‘Kickstarters’ independently, you can apply directly.
4. How do I find a Kickstart gateway?
5. How do I become a Kickstart gateway organisation or employer representative?
If you are interested in becoming a Kickstart gateway organisation, please email email@example.com. You will be sent a form to complete before your details are added to the list. You can also use this address if you are already registered as a gateway organisation and would like your details removed from the list or to change your contact information.
If you are intending to act as an employer representative, and have a minimum of 30 job placements from your group, you can apply for a grant directly.
6. What is meant by wraparound support and who can provide it?
By creating Kickstart Scheme job placements, you are helping young people who are at risk of being unemployed in the long term. Alongside the wage subsidy, as an employer you will also receive £1,500 per placement to set up support and training, as well as helping pay for uniforms and other setup costs.
Employability skills developed through the scheme could include:
- Travelling to work.
Kickstart participants may also need help with:
- CV and interviews
- Looking for long-term work.
You could provide this support yourselves or work with an external provider or charity to support.
7. My organisation has submitted an expression of interest – what happens next?
Your application will be reviewed to check it meets the requirements of the Kickstart Scheme. It will then go to a panel for consideration. This is not a competitive process, but the Kickstart Scheme will only provide funding when the job placements meet the criteria. DWP may contact you for further information as part of your application and will aim respond to your application within 1 month.
If your application meets the requirements of the scheme, you will receive a letter with a grant agreement. This agreement will include what your company has agreed to provide, and how much funding you will receive from the Kickstart Scheme.
If your application does not meet the requirements of the scheme, DWP will provide feedback. You can submit a new application with further information. There is no limit to the number of times you can apply for funding, however there is no legal right of appeal.
After you have agreed and signed your grant agreement, you will need to provide job descriptions for each of the job placements, including what candidates need to do to apply. Candidates who have been matched to your job placement can then apply for your new roles. As the employer, you can choose who to employ but you will only obtain funding if you appoint a young person that DWP have introduced.
You will receive initial setup costs when you have confirmed the young person has started work, is enrolled on your payroll and is being paid through PAYE. DWP will use information from HMRC to check that the young person is still employed and will pay the grant in arrears. DWP may contact you or the young person during the job placement to check what employability support has been offered. This is to make sure the young person has the best experience from the scheme.