Earlier this month, as part of its ‘Plan for Jobs’, the Treasury launched its new ‘Kickstart Scheme’ worth £2bn and aimed at tackling youth unemployment in a post-Covid jobs market with ‘good quality’ Government-subsidised opportunities.
It is hoped that the scheme, which will be delivered by the Department for Work and Pensions, will enable young adults to build their skills and gain experience that will ultimately improve their chances of locating and securing long-term work.
Employers who sign up to participate in the scheme can offer 16-24 year olds, who are also in receipt of Universal Credit, a six-month work placement.
To comply with the rules of the scheme, the placements offered must be newly created jobs and must not replace current or upcoming vacancies.
The Government will pay 100 per cent of the age-appropriate National Minimum Wage (NMW), National Insurance and automatic enrolment pension contributions for a placement spanning 25 hours a week.
The subsidy, which will be paid in arrears, can be topped up by employers who will also receive £1,500 to establish support and training for the young adults filling the placements, to pay for uniforms and to cover other associated set-up costs.
Initially open until December 2021, but with potential to be extended, there is no cap on the number of places available under the scheme and organisations of all sizes and standings can apply.
Young people will be directed to the “Kickstart” roles through their Jobcentre Plus work coach, with the first expected to start placements in early November.
Where smaller organisations are concerned, employers offering fewer than 30 placements will be asked to bid via an intermediary, such as a Local Authority or Chamber of Commerce, to ensure the process is less labour intensive.
The intermediary will put forward a combined bid for 30 or more placements, on behalf of a number of businesses.
Alternatively, employers can get together with other businesses in the vicinity and nominate a representative to be responsible for submitting a combined bid.
Tony Newman, Partner at George Hay, comments: “There is no doubt that young people have been negatively impacted by the current crisis, and to be entering the jobs market for the first time just now is, for many, proving to be more challenging than it might otherwise have been.
“The Kickstart Scheme is certainly a worthwhile initiative and something that both employers, as well as the 16-24 year olds eligible for a placement, stand to benefit from long-term.
“That being said, it is also true that there are many thousands of individuals facing unemployment, outside of the scope of this scheme.”
We will continue to monitor any further developments, in respect of the scheme, with interest and report on these as appropriate.