Kickstart Scheme

What is it?

The Kickstart Scheme (external link) is the government’s £2bn flagship programme targeting young people aged 16-24 who are claiming Universal Credit and at risk of becoming long-term unemployed.

Employers can apply to host a Kickstart placement for up to 25 hours per week for up to 6 months. Funding will cover for each job placement:

  • 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week
  • The associated employer National Insurance contributions
  • Employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions.

There will also be extra funding to support young people to build their experience and help them move into sustained employment after they have completed their Kickstart Scheme funded job.

How does it work?

There are two options available to employers who are interested in recruiting a young person through the scheme:

  • Applying online yourself via GOV.UK
  • Getting help from a Kickstart gateway (like Wigan Council) already working with the Kickstart Scheme.

Following a government policy change in late January 2021, employers are no longer required to offer a minimum of 30 job placements to apply individually. They can now apply for a Kickstart scheme grant online with just one vacancy via the GOV.UK website (external link).

However, the requirements for the scheme remain the same whether applying directly or through a Kickstart gateway organisation, including the need to incorporate suitable training and wraparound support for the young person recruited.

Benefits of applying through a Kickstart gateway

A Kickstart gateway already has a Kickstart Scheme grant agreement with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). They can add employers and job placements to this grant agreement and will:

  • Gather information about the job placements you would like to offer
  • Share this information with DWP on your behalf
  • Pay the funding to you (for example the young person’s salary) and any setup funding agreed between the employer and gateway
  • In some instances also offer employability support to the young people in the job placement.

Along with Wigan Council, there are a wide range of approved Kickstart gateway organisations operating across the country.

Please note that working with an approved Kickstart gateway does not guarantee funding via the programme as DWP carries out their own due diligence checks on suitability.

Wigan Council’s Kickstart approach

Wigan Council are an approved Kickstart gateway organisation. We are currently working with a wide range of local employers seeking to offer Kickstart job placements that will be available to local young people eligible for the scheme.

We have recently commissioned Wigan and Leigh College to deliver the training and wraparound support to young people recruited to these roles, with a comprehensive package of accredited learning now in place.

We believe that this training and wraparound support sets us apart from the alternatives and provides a high quality solution to your business and those local young people who secure a job placement through the scheme.

Employers will receive £750 in funding for setup costs, with £750 retained by Wigan Council to cover the cost of this training provision and managing the programme.

Please note that at this current time Wigan Council are only looking to work with employers who are based in Wigan borough. We recommend you consider an alternative gateway organisation if your business is not Wigan-based.

Before you apply

Please be aware of the following before you apply to the Kickstart Scheme:

  • The jobs on offer must be new jobs - part of the application process will focus on this and you will be asked to show how the role does not replace existing or planned vacancies or cause existing employees, apprentices or contractors to lose work or reduce their working hours
  • Placements must support participants to get the skills and experience to find a new job at the end of the programme
  • Employers are unable to identify / recruit to Kickstart jobs independently and would need to work with Job Centre Plus (JCP) staff to identify suitable eligible candidates for placements. Where an employer has identified someone who they believe may meet the Kickstart criteria, they need to encourage that young person to have a conversation with their JCP Work Coach about Kickstart and the employer / vacancy specifically
  • Wages repaid monthly in arrears.

How to apply

If you're interested in working with Wigan Council to recruit to a Kickstart job placement, you will need to:

You will then be asked to complete a more detailed full application, which will be considered by our Kickstart panel for suitability.

Please note that we are now working to June timeframes for any new enquiries received. Employers may be able to progress things quicker with an alternative gateway organisation (external link) or applying directly (external link), but it can take several months from initial enquiry to a job placement commencing.

If you have any further questions, you can email kickstart@wigan.gov.uk or call 01942 489190.

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