Skills shortage meet free staff plus small print – the Government Kickstart Scheme unravalled.
Kickstart is a new £2bn scheme as part of the Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s ‘plan for jobs’ focusing on young people 16-24 that’s due to have its first starts in November 2020. The intention of the scheme is to improve the employability of young people by providing a 25 hours per week, six-month placement for those 16–24 year olds currently claiming Universal Credit.
250,000 under 25s are claiming unemployment benefits since March and around 700,000 have left education which means there is a huge pool of talent waiting to be utilised.
So how do we as business owners get this valuable resource? We asked expert in this field, Steve Ackroyd, at The Job Guru, for a run down.
Now, this scheme is obviously beneficial to the 16-24 year olds that get the work placement but where are the benefits for the business that takes them on? After all, the employer is responsible for providing employability training such as CV writing, interview techniques and how to look for a job. That all takes time, skills the employer may not have and money.
For small businesses who haven’t employed anyone before, it’s a great opportunity to test out what it’s like to employ someone with minimal financial risk. For businesses that already have employees, the Kickstarter employees may be an opportunity to expand a new product or service, get more support in an overworked department (such as marketing). Very importantly in today’s Covid aware society, it’s great PR for your business, to show that you are supporting a young person to get into employment.
How it works
A Kickstart application must be for a minimum of 30 job placements, if a single employer cannot provide this many job placements then they must either join a group of other employers and nominate a representative or register their interest with an existing representative. Importantly, the Kickstarters don’t all have to start at the same time, this means you can stagger start dates rather than having them all start at once.
Jobcentre Work Coaches will promote the vacancies and candidates for the vacancies will be sent to the employer by the Jobcentre. Employers will interview the candidates and are at liberty to reject candidates that aren’t suitable, there is no obligation to take someone on.
Any business can apply for the scheme, whether they are a sole trader or a multinational corporate, as long as they satisfy the essential criteria.
The job placements must not:
replace existing or planned vacancies
cause existing employees, apprentices or contractors to lose work or reduce their working hours
The job placements must:
be a minimum of 25 hours per week, for 6 months (you can give them more hours and pay the difference)
pay at least the National Minimum Wage or the National Living Wage for the employee’s age group (you can pay them more but the DWP will only pay the National Minimum Wage)
only require basic training
So that the employer is not left out of pocket by taking on a Kickstarter employee the DWP will fund the minimum wage salary of the employee for 25 hours per week. This will be paid back to the employer monthly, in arrears and will be triggered by the payroll information supplied to the HMRC.
The DWP will also give the employer a grant of £1,500 the week after the Kickstart employee has been registered. This funding is for setup costs and to support the young person to develop their employability skills. Employers can choose to get someone else to do this for them, such as a Kickstart gateway or a service provider such as The Job Guru.
So, the Kickstart Scheme can give your company some additional funded support that also helps get a young person into work. Although not without its cost to the employer the benefits to all parties could be very advantageous. In addition, the grant to help with employability skills and the growth of service providers to assist with the whole process makes it very attractive if you need additional help.
Learn more: https://kickstart.campaign.gov.uk