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The Kickstart Scheme provides funding to create new jobs for 16 to 24 year olds on Universal Credit who are at risk of long term unemployment.

Employers of all sizes can apply for funding which covers:

  • 100% of the National Minimum Wage (or the National Living Wage depending on the age of the participant) for 25 hours per week for a total of 6 months
  • associated employer National Insurance contributions
  • minimum automatic enrolment pension contributions

Employers can spread the job start dates up until 31 December 2021. They’ll get funding until 30 June 2022 if a young person starts their job on 31 December 2021.

What is a Kickstart gateway?

A Kickstart gateway helps an employer get a Kickstart Scheme grant. They may also offer employability support to the young person on the scheme.

They already have (or are waiting on) a Kickstart Scheme grant agreement. The Kickstart gateway can add more employers and jobs to this grant agreement.

If you are a Kickstart gateway who applied for Kickstart Scheme funding before 28 January 2021 but not yet heard back, we will contact you with a decision. You do not need to apply again.

Kickstart gateways can be any type of organisation. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has performed due diligence checks on these organisations.

Employers can find a Kickstart gateway on this list.

Change your details on the Kickstart gateway list

Email kickstart.interest@dwp.gov.uk if:

  • you want your details removed from GOV.UK
  • your contact information has changed

Gateway Plus

A Gateway Plus is a specific type of Kickstart gateway. They can help smaller organisations, such as sole traders and partnerships, apply for a Kickstart Scheme grant.

Alongside the essential responsibilities of a Kickstart gateway, they will also:

  • add the young person to their organisation’s payroll
  • pay the young person’s wages on the small employer’s behalf using the funding from DWP
  • provide the employability support on the small employer’s behalf

The Gateway Plus organisations Organisations that are approved to act as a Gateway Plus are:

  • Adecco Working Ventures in Partnership with the Federation of Small Businesses
  • REED
  • Manpower Group
  • The Wirral Chamber of Commerce

There are no plans to add any further Kickstart gateways to this list of approved Gateway Plus organisations.

Essential responsibilities

As a Kickstart gateway with an existing grant agreement with DWP, you’ll need to:

  • gather information from the employer about the jobs
  • submit this information to DWP by contacting your local or national Kickstart Scheme contact
  • pay employers the Kickstart Scheme funding

Optional responsibilities

Employability support

You may choose to offer employability support to the young person on behalf of the employer.

This can include:

  • sharing your expertise with the employers to help them onboard and train young people employed through the scheme, for example supporting those with particular disadvantages or working in certain sectors
  • providing employability support directly to young people employed through the scheme

You can offer employability support to an employer outside of your grant agreement. If you do this, this arrangement is between you and the employer.

What you’ll get

You’ll get an initial payment of £1,860. This includes:

£360 per job for admin costs

Kickstart gateways will get £360 for each job to contribute towards admin costs. You may have to pay £60 of VAT depending on your individual circumstances. Find out if your organisation needs to register to pay VAT.

If you do not pay VAT

£60 from the £360 payment must be added to the £1,500 paid to the employer to provide the young person with employability support.

£1,500 per job for setup costs and employability support

This will be paid to you and you will need to pay this to the employer (as well as an extra £60 if you do not pay VAT).

This funding should be spent on setup costs and supporting the young person to develop their employability skills. Employers can choose to get someone else to do this for them, such as a Kickstart gateway or a service provider. If they choose to do this they will have to agree how to share the £1,500.

The employer should use this funding for:

  • training and employability support (provided by the employer, Kickstart gateway or another provider)
  • IT equipment and software
  • uniform or Personal Protective Equipment

DWP may ask the employer for their records to show that they’ve spent the funding on setup costs and supporting the young person’s employability.

Kickstart Scheme wages and related costs for employers

Kickstart Scheme wages and costs are paid to you, but you will pass this on to the employer. This funding covers:

  • 100% of the National Minimum Wage (or the National Living Wage depending on the age of the participant) for 25 hours per week for a total of 6 months
  • associated employer National Insurance contributions
  • minimum automatic enrolment pension contributions

Employers can pay a higher wage and for more hours but the funding will not cover this.

Job criteria

The jobs created with Kickstart Scheme funding must be new jobs. You need to check all of this with the employers you represent.

The jobs must not:

  • replace existing or planned vacancies
  • cause existing employees, apprentices or contractors to lose work or reduce their working hours

The jobs must:

Each job needs to help the young person become more employable. The Kickstart gateway needs to agree with the employer how this is done.

This employability support could include:

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

If the employer is not eligible for Kickstart Scheme funding, they can find out about other employment schemes.

The young person may be able to move to another employment scheme when they’ve finished their 6-month Kickstart Scheme job.

What the employer needs to give you

They’ll need to give you:

  • their Companies House reference number, Charity Commission number or Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator number, if they have one
  • their organisation’s address and contact details
  • details of the jobs and their location

DWP performs due diligence checks on all employers using the Cabinet Office Spotlight tool.

Ask them how their jobs are new and created just for the scheme

The jobs must not:

  • replace existing or planned vacancies
  • cause existing employees, apprentices or contractors to lose work or reduce their working hours

The employer needs to tell you:

  • how many employees they have
  • about changes to their workforce in the last 6 months and why (for example redundancies and changes to hours worked by existing staff)
  • the number of people affected by changes to their workforce in the last 6 months
  • about the kinds of roles, functions and average salary of those who were made redundant or who had their hours reduced in the last 6 months
  • if they would be able to create these jobs without Kickstart Scheme funding and what funding source they would use
  • what recruitment they have completed, started or paused in the last 6 months, including how similar these vacancies are or were to the roles they are creating for the Kickstart Scheme
  • if the jobs will be similar to existing or planned roles or the roles previously done by those made redundant or with fewer working hours, why they are using Kickstart Scheme funding to create similar roles
  • if they’ve engaged with any relevant trade unions and any advice the unions have given

How they will support young people to become more employable

They should also tell you:

  • what support will be offered (for example helping young people with writing their CV and preparing for an interview)
  • when they will provide this support (for example halfway through their job or towards the end)
  • how many hours it will take
  • who will provide the support (for example they may already have a pre-existing relationship with training providers or ask you to help with this)
  • how they will monitor this support
  • how the young person can provide feedback during their job and afterwards, and how this will be acted on

If employers get someone else to do some of this, such as a Kickstart gateway, they will have to agree how to share this money.

How you will get the funding

DWP will send the funding to you as the Kickstart gateway. You will be responsible for sending the funding to the employer.

How the funding is calculated for each young person

The calculation is:

  • 25 hours each week at National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage (depending on their age at the end of the job*) multiplied by 26 weeks
  • National Insurance and workplace pension contributions are added to this amount
  • the £1,500 funding for setup costs is then added to this amount

*For example, if a young person starts the job aged 17 and turns 18 before the end of the 26 weeks, the funding will cover National Minimum Wage for 18 year olds from the first day of their job.

£1,860 per job

You need to inform DWP when the young person starts the job. The £1,500 setup costs and £360 admin costs funding will then be paid. You’ll be told how to do this in the email you receive when a work coach refers a young person to a job vacancy.

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

Kickstart Scheme wages and related costs

Every 30 days information from HMRC is used to check that the young person is being paid through Pay As You Earn (PAYE).

Funding is sent for the wages and related costs to cover the last 30 days of employment.

The employer can pay a higher wage and for more hours but the funding will not cover this.

Getting young people into jobs

Kickstart Scheme jobs are only available for Universal Credit claimants aged 16 to 24 who are referred to employers by DWP.

If the jobs are successfully added to the grant agreement:

  1. The Kickstart gateway will give DWP job descriptions that work coaches at Jobcentre Plus will use to match candidates to the jobs.
  2. You or the employer 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. The employer will then be able to interview the candidates who have applied.
  5. You will tell DWP that the young person has started so funding can be processed. You’ll be told how to do this in a ‘referral’ email.

Funding will only be given if a young person is hired using the Kickstart Scheme process.

After a job ends the employer can get another Kickstart Scheme young person to start another job.

If a young person leaves the job early

You must email DWP as soon as possible if the young person:

  • leaves their job before the end of the 6-month period
  • needs to temporarily leave their job (for example for special leave or coronavirus-related restrictions)

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 a job vacancy.

If they leave their job early, DWP will pay the grant until the end of the month that they stopped working.

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

How to add employers or jobs to your grant agreement

You can add employers or jobs to your grant agreement with DWP.

The new jobs or employers will be assessed to make sure they meet the Kickstart Scheme criteria.

You will need to get information about the jobs from the employers.

Get in touch with your local or national Kickstart Scheme contact for information about how to add jobs or employers to your grant agreement.

If you are a Kickstart gateway who applied for Kickstart Scheme funding before 28 January 2021 but not yet heard from DWP, you will be contacted with a decision. You do not need to apply again.

Other employment schemes

Kickstart Scheme is part of the government’s Plan for Jobs. Other employment schemes in this include:

Apprenticeships

You may be able to get funding for any apprentices you employ in England. Find out more about apprenticeships.

Sector-based Work Academy Programme (SWAP)

Jobcentre Plus can support you to create a skilled workforce for your business by offering unemployed people sector-based work academies in England and Scotland.

Traineeships

Employers in England can also help young people by setting up a traineeship. Funding is available for this scheme.

Further support and help

Get in touch with your local or national Kickstart Scheme contact if you need help with the application process.

You can also read top tips for making a Kickstart Scheme application and guidance for employers on choosing a Kickstart gateway.

Disability Confident

The Disability Confident scheme provides employers with the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to make the most of the talents disabled people can bring to the workplace.

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Disclaimer: Kickstart Scheme

This page: Kickstart Scheme is not legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. This article Kickstart Scheme is provided for information purposes only. You can Contact Us on the specific facts of your case to obtain relevant advice via a Free Initial Consultation.

This page contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.