You may have already heard about the Government Kickstart Scheme which has been created by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).  It is a scheme which provides funding to employers to create job placements. 

When it was first set up you needed a minimum of 30 job placements to apply for the grant or you had to piggyback off a gateway provider to apply on your behalf.  The good news is that this has now changed, you no longer need a minimum of 30 job placements and any employer can apply directly.

Please see the main principles below of how the Kickstart Scheme works.

The Government Job Placement Criteria

  • Any job created with the scheme funding must only be used for new jobs and are not allowed to replace existing or planned future vacancies
  • It must not result in any existing employees, apprentices or contractors having their working hours reduced or being dismissed
  • The job placement must be between 16 – 24 years old and on Universal Credit
  • Employers of any size can apply for the funding
  • The funding covers 100% of the National Minimum Wage (NMW) or the National Living Wage (NLW) depending on the age of the participant for up 25 hours per week for a total of 6 months, including the associated employer National Insurance and Pension contributions if they qualify.  The employer can top up the NMW or NLW if they wish to
  • If you require the work placement to work more than 25 hours per week then the employer has to pay for the additional hours worked
  • Employers can spread the start date of the job placements up until the end of December 2021.
  • Once accepted for the scheme employers will be provided with a selection of candidates from the DWP selection pool
  • The DWP will also pay employers a grant of £1500 for eligible expenditure if incurred up to £1500 per placement for the following:
    • Set up costs for IT equipment and software licences
    • Administration and management time
    • Support with helping the work placement develop their work skills and experience (referred to as ‘employability support’ by the DWP)
    • Uniform, equipment and Personal Protective Equipment required


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

  • looking for long-term work, including career advice and setting goals
  • support with curriculum vitae (CV) and interview preparations
  • developing their skills in the workplace

To Apply for the Scheme

You can apply online and you will need:

  • your Companies House reference number, Charity Commission number or Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator number
  • your organisation address and contact details
  • details of the Kickstart Scheme job placements and their location
  • supporting information to show that the job placements are new jobs
  • information about the support you will give to develop the employability skills of young people on the scheme

Considerations for your Business

If you need to increase your headcount over the next few months as we come out of lockdown but do not have the budget it may be an option you want to consider without having to commit to a permanent role which may be beneficial to you in the current uncertain economic climate.  We are excited about how this scheme can give people a great opportunity to enter or re-enter the workplace, and we are sure there will be lots of great candidates who just need that chance.  Much as it needs serious consideration in deciding whether or not it is right for your business to take on an apprentice you need to give thought to how the Kickstarter scheme will work for you:

  • due to the work placement being possibly relatively inexperienced in the world of work does your business have clear induction and training processes in place to help with their smooth transition into your workplace?  
  • what work will be carried out by the work placement?  What will add value in your business and can be achieved in the six months of the programme?
  • how will you make best use of the skills, knowledge and experience the work placement has?
  • how where and when will they carry out their work and what are the arrangements to supervise them?
  • what equipment and resources do you need?
  • what health and safety considerations are there, particularly if you have a young worker?
  • does your business have the time and resources to support, train and mentor the work placement especially if they are working remotely?  How will you meet the career support training required?
  • is this the most suitable option for your business if you are extremely busy and need someone who can hit the ground running quickly?

You will be reliant on the DWP to select the candidates that they feel are suitable for your work placement as part of the kickstart scheme; at this stage we do not know what calibre these could be and what screening processes the DWP has in place to ensure that you receive suitable candidates for your business, so we will have to wait and see!

If you would like to find out more about the Kickstart scheme or how we can support you with applying, recruiting, training or providing the work placements with fixed term contracts please do not hesitate to contact us.

Free eBook!

Simply provide your details to receive your free ebook '7 Questions For Sure-fire Success As An Employer'. You will then receive important legal updates, HR tips and important news right into your inbox.

By the way, we can't stand spam so be assured that we will never share your information. 

You have Successfully Subscribed!