Kickstart scheme: What you need to know

Are you aged between 16 and 24, and looking for work right now?

If so, the Kickstart scheme could help get your career back on track. The scheme, which is due to run until at least December 2021, is specifically aimed to give young people a stepping stone into their chosen sector. Which could be invaluable when it comes to finding employment during the pandemic.

To help you figure out whether or not the new initiative will work for you, here’s everything you need to know about the Kickstart scheme: 


What is the government’s Kickstart scheme?

To help younger workers find employment during the pandemic, the government has launched a £2bn ‘Kickstart’ scheme – which will provide hundreds of thousands of new jobs to those in this demographic.

These jobs will be in the form of work placements, which aim to help young people build up their skills and experience levels, and be a stepping stone into further employment.  

The scheme was initially announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in his summer statement, but was officially launched on September 2nd 2020. 


Who is eligible for the Kickstart scheme?

The Kickstart scheme is specifically designed for those aged between 16 and 24, who are currently claiming Universal Credit, and may be at risk of long-term unemployment.

It’s being run by the DWP, so your local Jobcentre will be able to run you through the specific criteria, and help you find out whether or not you’re eligible.  


How does the Kickstart scheme work?

The government will cover 100% of minimum wage for these workers, up to a maximum of 25 hours per week. They’ll also cover National Insurance payments and any pension contributions.

Your employer will be able to top-up your wage, if this is an option. 

To find out more about how much you could earn, read our quick guide on the current minimum wage.  


How long does the scheme last?

Kickstart placements can last for a period of up to six months, depending on the need of the employer. 

The scheme will operate until at least December 2021.


What if you’re on furlough?

As the scheme is aimed at those at risk of long term unemployment, who are currently receiving Universal Credit, furloughed workers will not be eligible to take part.  

However, if they are between the ages of 16 and 24, and lose their job due to the pandemic, then they may go on to meet the eligibility requirements. Your local Jobcentre will be able to help talk you through this process.

Graduates or recent school leavers may also be able to apply.  


How can businesses take part? 

Any business can take part in the Kickstart scheme – no matter how big, or small. 

However, they will have to make a minimum of 30 placements. Any smaller business that are unable to hire this many people will be able to group together with other companies, as part of their application.

Businesses will also receive up to £1500 per placement made as part of the Kickstart scheme, to help cover costs such as training, HR support and providing uniforms. 


What companies are taking part?

Many of the UK’s top companies have already registered their interest to take part in the Kickstart scheme.

Two of the biggest names signed up so far include Tesco and Network Rail, with more names signing up every day since the start of September.

And with Kickstart roles on offer in practically every industry, whatever career you’re looking to move into, there will be something out there for you. 


How to apply for the Kickstart scheme

The government hopes to have the first roles officially on offer by November (although some businesses have already started posting Kickstart vacancies).

If you’re currently claiming Universal Credit, your local Jobcentre will be able to help you work through the eligibility criteria.

After your eligibility has been agreed, they will be able to help you find Kickstart roles in your area, and you’ll be able to apply for these as normal. 



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