Under the new Kickstart Scheme, 16-24 year olds will be invited to apply for job placements funded by the government.

In July the UK government announced a range of measures (Plan for Jobs) to help kickstart the economy, which has suffered as a result of Coronavirus. 

Among these measures is the Kickstart Scheme, designed to support 16-24 year olds that have been impacted by the pandemic.

Here’s everything we know so far about the Kickstart Scheme, including specific info on who qualifies and how the scheme works for employers and candidates.

Why now?

The effects of lockdown have been disastrous for the UK economy.

Thousands of jobs have been cut and many businesses, particularly within the hospitality, travel, retail and leisure sectors, are struggling.

But one group has been more affected than most – 16-24 year olds. One in three of this age group have lost their job, while many more have seen opportunities to get on the career ladder disappear, and under 25s are two and a half times more likely to work in an industry closed down by the Coronavirus. 800,000 people aged 24 and under are claiming Universal Credit.  

HELP: Have you been affected by Covid-19? Find your Way to Work with Placed.

What the Kickstart Scheme will do?

The government has set aside two billion pounds to create temporary jobs for under-25s. There will be no cap on the amount of people eligible, but the government estimates ‘hundreds of thousands of people’ will benefit from the scheme.

The government hopes this will help young people ‘build their skills in the workplace, and to gain experience that will improve their chances of going on to find long-term sustainable work.’ For employers, this is an opportunity to bolster their workforce for no extra cost and train up the next generation of candidates. 

What are the details?

The exact details are still emerging, but here’s what we know about how the Kickstart Scheme will work so far:

  • Each ‘kickstarter job’ will pay National Minimum Wage and be capped at 25 hours per week (though employers will have the option to add more hours if they wish, which they will have to pay for). This means if you’re 20 years old, you would earn £161.25 per week from a job through this scheme, unless the employer chose to top up what the government was paying
  • The scheme will also cover pension and National Insurance contributions (also capped at 25 hours per week) for each Kickstart worker
  • Each placement will last for a maximum of six months
  • Each Kickstart employer will be given £1500 by the government to fund support and training for recruits
  • The scheme will begin taking applications from employers from September onwards and it is estimated that the placements will roll out from November. The scheme will run until December 2021.

Who qualifies for the Kickstart Scheme?

The scheme is for 16-24 year olds that are claiming Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment. Candidates who wish to be placed on the scheme will have to be referred by Jobcentre staff. 

Employers will also have to apply and prove that the placements they request are ‘additional’ and not being used to replace laid off employees. They will also have to take on a minimum of 30 placements to qualify outright – employers that can’t take on that number will have to apply separately via a third-party organisation (trade bodies, local authorities) or partner up with other organisations to reach the minimum amount. Each employer pool will need to have a designated representative.


Which companies are signing up?


With applications open from September 2nd, a handful of major companies have already signalled their intention to sign up to the scheme. Major supermarket Tesco have backed the scheme and plan to offer 1,000 Kickstart placements, while Network Rail will also be taking part. Due to the nature of the application process, which favours large organisations that can hire 30+ kickstart candidates, it will most likely take smaller companies a little longer to be approved and start offering placements.


What else is the government doing?

  • Employers that bring back furloughed employees will be entitled to a £1000 bonus per employee
  • VAT decrease for hospitality and tourism sector, from 20% to 5%
  • From 3-31 August, Eat Out to Help Out scheme will entitle customers to up to £10 per head discount when eating out Monday to Friday. Business can sign up through government website
  • £2000 bonus for employers that hire apprentices; £1000 for those that take on trainees
  • 1.6 billion pounds in loans and grants for the struggling arts and culture sector
  • Vouchers (up to £5000) for energy-saving home improvements
  • Government funding to create more job centre roles and career advisers.

This blog was updated on September 2nd to incorporate new details on the scheme. 

Don’t miss out on job alerts, industry news and career tips – sign up to our email now.