Updated: May 7
Amid the rapid changes we saw in 2020, the government also implemented a wonderful new scheme to help 16 - 24 year olds on universal credit gain employment and to help employers employ more people!
What is it?
It's a scheme introduced by the government in response to the pandemic to support those most at risk of long term employment. This group was identified as 16 - 24 year olds on universal credit.
Employers who use the scheme will receive funding towards some employment costs.
Essentially, employers must offer work placements of at least 6 months for at least 25 hours per week paid at the age appropriate National Minimum Wage. In addition to employment, you are expected to support the participants to develop skills and experience which will help them become more employable in the future.
This is not an apprenticeship scheme, but you can move participants on to an apprenticeship at any time during the placement.
Tell me about the funding!
The scheme covers 100% of the costs of the relevant NMW for 25 hours per week (including employer NI and pension contributions) for 6 months. You can offer more hours, but you won't receive funding for it.
In addition to that, the government will also pay you £1,500 towards setting up, support and training for the placement including equipment, PPE and employment contracts.
Who can apply?
To be eligible for he scheme, you must:
be an existing company
Offer a vacancy which does not replace an existing role
Be prepared to offer at least 25 hours per week for at least 6 months paid at the age appropriate NMW rate
Demonstrate at application what employability support you intend to offer participants
Demonstrate at application that the job on offer is a quality placement
Show how you plan to monitor the progress of the participants
Show how any publicity activities will comply with DWP requirements.
Ok, how do I do this thing?
If you are offering less than 30 placements, you will need to apply through a Kickstart Gateway which is an organisation that can distribute the funding, you can find your nearest gateway on the government website.
If you are applying directly for over 30 placements, you can apply at the link above.
Once the application has been received, a panel will review your application and give you a decision within a month, although gateways may take a little longer to progress.
If you are successful in obtaining the funding, you must sign a grant agreement and send job descriptions to the DWP whose work coaches will match you to candidates in the scheme for interview.
You can then go through interview processes with the matched candidates to decide who to employ.
Remember that you will need a fixed term, Kickstarter contract for placements which are different to your usual permanent employment contracts.
If you've got any other questions about the scheme - be sure to get in touch!