Kickstart Scheme Program 2021 – An employer’s guide

If you’re an employer who is looking to provide job placements for young people, then the Governments Kickstart Scheme is a great way to take on young people with the help of significant funding. The Government are providing funding to create jobs.

Here at DNS, we think this is an excellent Government initiative for businesses of all sizes to be able to take on a new trainee(s) for a 6 month placement with little cost to your business.

Kickstart Scheme Program 2021 – An employer’s guide

It’s a way for you and your business to ‘try out’ trainees, before deciding if you can offer them a longer-term role and access funding to create new jobs. Through the scheme, your business could access a large pool of young people currently on universal credit, with potential who are ready for an opportunity to work in a company just like yours.

Here at DNS Accountants, we understand that it’s an incredibly challenging time for many companies and some won’t be able to take one young people in additional roles right now. However, many sectors are still growing, and we know that some employers will be looking to provide more employment opportunities and benefit from increasing their headcount over the coming months.

As with all Government schemes, there are strict criteria for application, but many, many companies will be eligible. We believe that the criteria aren’t too onerous to put business off and the return for being successful is well worth the business gains, both in funding, training, and support for your new trainees.

This blog covers everything you need to know about the scheme and as always, we are here to help guide you through the process if you need help.

Providing job placements through the Kickstart Scheme

The Kickstart Scheme provides funding to an employer who creates a job placement for young person aged 16 to 24 on Universal Credit.

The Government have put aside £2 billion to help companies provide 6-month job placements for these young people.

Who can apply for the Kickstart Scheme funding?

Employers of all sizes can apply for kickstart funding. The Kickstart Scheme provides companies of all sizes, across the private, public and voluntary sectors with the opportunity to apply. There was originally a minimum number of job placements a company could offer (previously 30) but this has now been lifted, meaning all sizes of employers can now apply for Kickstart funding.

Is it suitable for my company?

Checks will be made to show our company is established, reputable and financially solvent.

Approval for you to join the scheme is more likely if your company:

  • have existed for a while.
  • regularly and recently submitted accounts.
  • have a credit score which is a low risk category.
  • have a low probability of imminent business failure.
  • have enough liquid assets to pay your debts.
  • do not have any recent county court judgments (CCJs).

However, it’s worth noting that if you fail one or more of these, it doesn’t necessarily mean you will not be approved, so it’s worth still considering applying.

How long is the Kickstart Scheme running for?

Referrals to the scheme will run until December 2021.

Kickstart scheme grant - how much will I get?

The funding on the scheme is incredibly generous. On confirmation of the job start, the employer will be paid £1,500 per job placement to support overhead costs i.e., payroll, induction, leadership etc. The funding available for each job will cover 100% of the National Minimum Wage (or the National Living Wage depending on the age of the participant) for 25 hours per week for a total of 6 months. In addition to this it will also cover the associated employer National Insurance contributions, and employer minimum Auto Enrolment contributions.

How do I apply for Kickstart Scheme?

The great news is that in January 2021, the government announced important changes to the Kickstart Scheme to simplify the application process for businesses. Employers who wish to host fewer than 30 placements are no longer required to apply via a Gateway organisation, you can now apply directly. So, there are now two ways to apply for the scheme.

You can now apply for a Kickstart Scheme grant by either:

  • applying online yourself via the Kickstart gateway website.
  • applying through a Kickstart gateway who is already working with the Kickstart Scheme (there are gateways across the country and the Government have an online tool to find a Kickstart Gateway).

So, its now much easier to apply for a kickstart grant.

Why would I use a DWP Kickstart Gateway?

Any employers who need support to access the scheme can still partner with one of Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) gateway organisations, such as a Local Authority or Chamber of Commerce. Gateways can help to provide a connection and the additional support in relation to the Kickstart Scheme.

Additional support that a Gateway can offer may be around things like employability skills such as:

  • Attendance
  • Timekeeping
  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Travelling to work
  • CV & interviews
  • Looking for long term work if you can’t provide it

You may well be able to provide this support through your business or choose to work with an external provider, such as a local college or charity. If you are applying via a Kickstart Gateway, the Gateway may be able to provide employability services on your behalf.

Kickstart Scheme Criteria

The job placements created with Kickstart funding must be new jobs and must meet eligibility criteria.

They must not:

  • replace existing or planned vacancies.
  • cause existing employees or contractors to lose or reduce their employment.

The roles you are applying for must be:

  • a minimum of 25 hours per week, for 6 months.
  • paid at least the National Minimum Wage for their age group.
  • should not require people to undertake extensive training before they begin the job placement.

All applications should include how you will help the trainees to develop their skills and experience with:

  • support to look for long-term work.
  • support with CV and interview preparation
  • training to develop their skills, such as teamwork.
  • organisation and communications as part of the role.

What do you need to provide when you apply?

Whether you apply directly or via a Gateway, you will need to provide the following for funding:

  • your Companies House reference number, Charity Commission number or Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator number, if you have one.
  • your organisation address and contact details.
  • details of the job placements and their location.

DWP performs due diligence checks on all employers, but don’t let this put you off. If you can provide a job to a young person, it’s worth putting in an application.

It’s clear that Kickstart has moved up a gear and its a scheme the government are encouraging employers to join the scheme and invest in the next generation of talent. Now could be the right time to prepare for post-lockdown by bringing in young talent and use Kickstart to help your business to do this.

With £2 billion available and no limit on the number of places, it’s now easier than ever for businesses to take part.

So, if you want to help young people and can offer a Kickstart placement to a 16 to 24 year old , then we recommend you apply. Contact us if you need any further help or advice to access the funding and we can provide guidance.

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About the author
Blog Author

Sumit Agarwal
Sumit Agarwal (ACMA ACA India), the Managing partner of dns accountants is a highly respected accountant with expertise in helping owner-managed businesses.

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About the author
Blog Author

Sumit Agarwal
Sumit Agarwal (ACMA ACA India), the Managing partner of dns accountants is a highly respected accountant with expertise in helping owner-managed businesses.


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