Kickstart Scheme- Everything you need to know

Published 1st September 2021


The pandemic has had a significant economic impact on levels of unemployment and an alleviated demand for universal credit across the UK. In response to this, the Government has introduced a series of measures to increase employment figures and reduce the pressure for benefit schemes such as the Kickstart Scheme.

What is the kickstart scheme?

The Kickstart scheme provides funding to employers to create new jobs in the form of work placements and allows young people to gain the invaluable experience they deserve.

It is designed to give young people the helping hand they need during these difficult times to find secure employment.

Why was the kickstart scheme introduced?

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

The Kickstart scheme is designed to help get a young persons career back on track. Itis perfect for anybody aged between 16 and 24 currently unemployed and claiming Universal Credit.

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.”

Advantages of the Kickstart scheme for employers/businesses

If you are a business looking to grow and create quality jobs for young people, you can apply to take on a Kickstart scheme employee. Several well-known and established companies across the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors have already applied for funding and pledged to offer Kickstart jobs.

There are many advantages for employers such as;

What will the Kickstart funding cover?

Thousands of employers have already applied for funding which covers:

What is the Kickstart job criteria?

The jobs created with Kickstart Scheme funding must be new jobs and must not replace existing or planned vacancies. They must not cause existing employees, apprentices or contractors to lose work or have their hours reduced

The jobs must be a minimum of 25 hours per week for six months and pay at least the national minimum or living wage for the employees' age group. The job must only require basic training.

Previously there was a requirement to employ more than 30 employees under this scheme however effective from February 2021 this threshold was removed to ensure the benefits of the scheme are available to smaller employers.

For each job you must help the young person become more employable. This could include:

How to apply for the Kickstart scheme grant?

You can apply for a Kickstart Scheme grant by either:

If you apply directly, the £1,500 funding for setup costs will be paid when you tell us that the young person has started the job. You’ll be told how to do this in the email you receive when a work coach refers a young person to your job vacancy.

If you apply through a Kickstart gateway, you need to tell them when the young person starts their job. They can then send you the £1,500 funding once they’ve received it from DWP.

If a Kickstart gateway or another provider does some of the job setup or employability support for you, you can use the £1,500 funding to cover this.

If you already have a Kickstart Scheme grant agreement and reference number, you can request to add more jobs to it. This is known as a ‘grant variation’.

What is a Kickstart gateway?

A Kickstart gateway can be any type of organisation, such as a local authority, charity or trade body.They will act as an intermediary and apply for funding on your behalf.They may also provide employability support to the young people in the job on your behalf.

Kickstart gateways will:

If your application is successful...

  1. You or your Kickstart gateway will give DWP job descriptions that work coaches at Jobcentre Plus will use to match candidates to the jobs.
  2. You or your Kickstart gateway will receive a notification email each time a young person is referred to the job (‘referrals’).
  3. Referred candidates may choose to apply for the job.
  4. You’ll then be able to interview the candidates who have applied.
  5. You or your Kickstart gateway will tell DWP when the young person has started so we can process the funding. You’ll be told how to do this in the ‘referral’ email.

You can advertise vacancies yourself, but all jobs must receive an introduction through a DWP work coach to receive full funding. After a job ends you can get another Kickstart Scheme young person to start another job.

What happens if a Kickstart employee leaves early?

You must email Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) as soon as possible if a young person either:

The email address is the same one you use to tell DWP about the young person’s start date. You’ll be told how to do this in the ‘referral’ email you get when a work coach refers a young person to your job vacancy.

If a young person leaves their job early, the next scheduled wage payment from DWP will be the last you receive for them.

DWP may be able to extend the funding period if the young person has to temporarily stop working

Find a Kickstart gateway

For help with your kickstart scheme application, and guidance on funding and grants available for your business please speak to our expert team today

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