The Government has confirmed the removal of the minimum number of placements required to participate in its kickstart scheme, opening it up to many more employers.
The kickstart scheme is designed to create six-month work placements for unemployed young people aged 16-24 who are claiming universal credit. The aim is to target the demographic most likely to be at risk of long-term unemployment, following the coronavirus pandemic.
As part of the scheme, the Government will provide 100% funding of the relevant national minimum wage (NMW) for 25 hours per week, plus employer’s national insurance contributions and minimum employer pension contributions. A further £1,500 per placement is also available to help with set up costs, training, and support.
Originally there was a requirement for a minimum of 30 placements under one application. Although it was possible to apply for less than this through a collaboration with other organisations, for example, via the local Government, it did put many employers off from applying.
This has been supported by recent statistics that less than 2,000 placements have so far been taken up, although a more encouraging 120,000 temporary positions have been approved.
The Government has now scrapped the minimum placement requirement and applications can be made for any number of placements. Placements must start before 31 December 2021 to qualify under the scheme.
Kickstart is not designed to replace apprenticeships, but those who benefit from the scheme can move onto an apprenticeship at any point during or after their placement. The scheme is open to all employers in England, Scotland and Wales.
There is no requirement to provide further employment beyond the six-month placement, with the main aim of the scheme being to help the individual develop transferrable skills and boost their CV with an up-to-date reference.
If you are interested in finding out more about this scheme, including about who can apply and how, further details can be found on the Government website here.