How Will The Kickstart Scheme Work?
With unemployment remaining a big issue in 2020, 16–24 year olds are finding it harder and harder to get into work. Government figures show a record of 538,000 under 25s have claimed Universal Credit during lockdown, meaning that finding a job straight out of school can be a distant pipe dream for many.
The Kickstart Scheme
But, in July, the Government announced the introduction of the KickStart Scheme for the 16-24 age group. Basically a £2 billion fund to create hundreds of thousands of work placements, the scheme has been described as an ‘innovative way to help young people into work and spur Britain’s economic revival’. The scheme will be subsidised by the Government who will pay 100% of wages (National Minimum Wage), National Insurance and pension contributions. The roles for young people must be at least 25 hours a week.
Due to the pandemic, many young people will have been furloughed and so the scheme is designed to build their skills in the workplace and help them gain experience to improve the likelihood of them finding long-term work.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “This isn't just about kickstarting our country's economy – it is an opportunity to kickstart the careers of thousands of young people who could otherwise be left behind as a result of the pandemic. The scheme will open the door to a brighter future for a new generation and ensure the UK bounces back stronger as a country.”
Who Can Apply?
Some bigger companies, such as Tesco, have already signed up to the scheme but smaller businesses are encouraged to get involved. Those who want to recruit more than 30 people can submit a bid online through the main Kickstart page but those who are unable to hire as many as 30, will have to team up with another business to create a batch of 30 roles.
However, there are some strict criteria for employers to take advantage of the scheme. The jobs offered must be new roles and not replace existing or planned vacancies, cause existing employees or contractors to lose or reduce their employment, roles must be for a minimum of 25 hours per week for six months, employees must be paid at least the National Minimum Wage for their age group, should not require people to undertake extensive training before the begin the placement and employers must be willing to help applicants with CV and interview preparation and training to develop theirs skills such as team work, organisation and communications as part of the role.
The Criteria For Young People
The criteria for young people is also strict and is not inclusive of students. They must be unemployed and on Universal Credit to apply. The Job Centre can refer people to the scheme.
Will It Work?
Although the news has been met positively been employers, there has been some scepticism about funds of this nature. In the past, schemes such as the Future Jobs Fund, introduced after the last recession, were not as successful as hoped. They have been known to not offer the level of training or experience participants hoped for and firms have been accused of using the scheme for cheap labour. The scheme only works if there is the possibility of a job at the end, otherwise participants will be right back where they started.
Only time will tell if Kickstart will finally see a rise in employment for the younger generation.
To get involved visit the .gov site here.