Since March last year, a quarter of a million people under the age of 25 have claimed unemployment benefits and companies across different sectors are cutting jobs by the minute.
In response to the seismic impact the pandemic has had on young people’s career prospects across the UK, the government launched Kickstart, an initiative in which employers can apply for government funding to create job placements for young people struggling to find work.
Navigating the gov.uk website can be confusing at the best of times, and this confusion seems to multiply when it comes to funding schemes like these. What does Kickstart really entail, and how do you apply? Has it made any real impact on employment figures? Which sectors are using the initiative? We’ve broken it down into the key facts and figures to make it more digestible.
What is it?
- Part of Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Plan for Jobs in July last year, one of the biggest packages for youth unemployment in decades which included financial incentives like awarding employers £2000 for every apprentice hired under the age of 25
- The scheme runs until December 2021
- Each job placement created lasts up to 6 months and is fully paid for by the government at national minimum wage (£4.55 for under 18s, £6.45 for 18 to 20-year-olds, and £8.20 for 21 to 24-year-olds)
- Additional employment support and training is available (including £1500 to cover training and other expenses)
How do you apply, and who can apply?
- Brave the government website: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/kickstart-scheme
- Open to 16-24 year old’s who are eligible for universal credit (i.e if you’re on a low income or unemployed)
- Businesses recruiting more than 30 people can apply directly online, and those offering fewer than 30 need to apply via a representative organization
Which sectors are using it?
- Construction, media and communications, tech, fitness, retail and many more
- Companies include: Bloomberg, KFC, Network Rail, Tesco and Ladbible
What are the numbers so far?
- According to chancellor Rishi Sunak, in November the scheme had created nearly 20,000 job placements, and they expect tens of thousands more in the coming months
- The scheme hopes to create more than 250,000 jobs overall
- As of November, the government received 4.359 applications from employers
Enough of stats; what have young people made of it?
- In a BBC article 24 year-old Geddy Stringer spoke of having ‘no hope’ before applying to Kickstart, which has been a ‘godsend’ in finding him a high-quality new job in only a few months
It’s not all been good
- The 30 person-limit imposed by the government made applying for funds hard for smaller businesses
- The government has since opened the scheme to hundreds of mediators and the Federation of Small Businesses is working with the government to become an intermediary for small business who wish to recruit less than 30 people
- The Department for Work and Pensions has since reported that more than 500 bodies have signed up to act as intermediaries