Applications for the £2 billion Kickstart Scheme now open

02 September 2020

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has launched the online application service for employers who wish to use the Kickstart Scheme, in order to create new six-month job placements for those aged between 16 and 24, who are in receipt of Universal Credit and potentially facing long-term unemployment.

There is detailed guidance on who can apply for the scheme available online.

The placements must enable participants to develop the skills and experience required to find work after completing the scheme. Funding will be made available for the total of the appropriate National Minimum Wage (NMW) rate for 25 hours a week, plus the associated employer National Insurance (NI) and minimum automatic enrolment contributions. An additional £1,500 per job placement will also be available to help with setup costs, support, and training.

Applications must be made for a minimum of 30 job placements, but if businesses cannot offer this amount, then they can partner with other organisations to reach the minimum number. Businesses creating over 30 job placements can submit their application directly, but those with fewer than 30 must partner with another organisation, or other organisations, prior to applying. Other organisations may include similar employers, local authorities, trade bodies and registered charities.

Groups of employers can enlist a representative to submit an application on their behalf, and detailed guidance on the process behind this is available on Gov.UK.

Any organisation may apply for the funding, regardless of their size. Job placements created with funding from the Kickstart Scheme must be new jobs, and must not replace existing or planned vacancies, or cause any existing employees or contractors to lose or reduce their employment. The roles must be for a minimum of 25 hours per week, for a period of six months, which, as previously noted, the government will fund. Employees must be paid at least the NMW for their age group and should not require extensive training prior to starting the job placement. Once a placement has been created, a second person may take it up once the first successful applicant has completed their six-month term.

 For each application made, claimants should explain how they intend to assist participants in developing their skills and experience, including how they will support them to locate long-term work, support with CV and interview preparations, and how they will teach participants basic work skills.

In order to apply online, businesses will need certain information, as follows:

  • The Companies House reference number or Charity Commission number
  • The organisation address and contact details
  • Details of the job placements and their locations
  • Supporting information to demonstrate that the placements are new jobs, which meet the Kickstart Scheme criteria
  • Information about the support the organisation can provide to enhance the employability skills of young people

Once an application has been submitted, it will be reviewed to check it meets the requirements of the Kickstart Scheme, and sent to a panel for consideration. It is the intention that applications will be responded to within one month.

If an application is successful, the applicant will receive a letter with a grant agreement. This will detail what the company has agreed to provide and how much funding will be given from the Kickstart Scheme. This must be signed and returned using details in the letter, prior to the commencement of any job placements. Claimants will need to provide job descriptions for each job placement, including details of what candidates need to do to apply for the job placement. They will then receive contact from people who have been matched to the job placement. Businesses will only obtain funding should they place a person who is introduced through the scheme by DWP.

If an application is unsuccessful, then an explanation and feedback will be given. A further application can be made, with additional information, and there is no limit to the number of times a business can apply for funding.

Businesses will receive initial setup costs once they have confirmed that the placement has started, and the Kickstarter is on payroll and being paid through PAYE. DWP will check data from HMRC to ensure that the Kickstarter is employed, and the grant will be paid in arrears. DWP may contact either the claimant or the Kickstarter to check the details of the employability support being offered.


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