They’re young, they’re available, they’re keen to work. And since March 2021, we’ve placed over 200 of them in local companies, with salary and contributions fully subsidised by Government, thanks to the Kickstart scheme.
In short, it’s win-win – but time is running out, because the scheme closes at the end of 2021, and applications from new employers must be in by December 17.
So, how does it all work, what exactly does it deliver, and how do you apply?
Kickstart: what it is, why it benefits you
The past 18 months have put phenomenal pressure on many businesses, presented new opportunities for others, and even created entirely new types of venture out of the chaos. What all these businesses have in common, however, is that they need to hire to survive and thrive.
At the same time, at the last count (June – August 2021), some 498,000 young people aged between 16 and 24 in the UK were looking for work, strongly indicating that hiring is being impaired not just by availability of workers, but by some other factor – and that factor is wage costs.
This is where Kickstart totally closes the gap. This Government scheme fully subsidises six-month work placements for jobseekers aged 16-24, including those on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment.
The subsidy covers you – the employers – for 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus associated employer National Insurance and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions. There is also £1,500 per job placement available for set-up costs, support and training. In essence, the scheme covers you for all salary and associated costs.
The emphasis is very much on high-quality placement opportunities – the Government has invested £2bn in the scheme – so the support and training subsidies are expected to be used to underpin the scheme’s wider aim of enabling participants to develop the skills and experience they need to find work after they complete the placement.
Equally, however, the scheme enables you to cost-effectively train up candidates for potential full-time employment in your own business, as and when your revenue projections permit – there is no obligation for them to seek work elsewhere once they’ve completed the placement.
And you can also incentivise them to stay on after the placement by paying them an additional salary or bonus element, or paying them to work additional hours, from your own finances, during the placement period – the subsidised salary is a helping hand, not a limit or a ceiling.
And, in many cases, by helping to encourage participants to stay on and contribute to the success of the business longer term, Kickstart is also the gift that keeps on giving.
The Chamber has hired two Kickstarters and they have settled into the team brilliantly. You may have met one of them at our first ‘in-person’ event of the year last week and the other is taking the lead on the hot topic of net zero and sustainability. We couldn’t be happier with the contributions they have made is such a short period.
What are the conditions?
Clearly, there are conditions that your business must meet in order to apply for the scheme, but the good news is that these are nothing to do with the kind of business you conduct, or how your business is incorporated.
All that is necessary for you to be able to apply is that the placement or placements you are offering:
- Are of six months’ duration
- Are for at least 25 hours per week (you can pay for more if you wish)
- Will pay at least the National Minimum Wage through PAYE (you get this back through the funding, but you can pay more if you wish)
- Will pay the statutory employer duties for the health, safety and welfare for young people, National Insurance and pension contributions (you get this back through the funding)
- Include support for young people to help them get work after they finish their Kickstart Scheme job
- Do not replace existing or planned jobs
- Do not cause existing employees or contractors to lose or reduce their employment
- Your business can operate in any sector or vertical, as long as it is registered at Companies House.
How to apply for Kickstarter funding – and when
You can apply for Kickstarter funding for anything under 30 placements in just a minute or two through the Chamber’s website but your application must reach us by December 17, as the scheme is closed to new applications after that date.
Hear that roaring sound? That’s hiring – and young people’s careers being kickstarted in businesses across the county!
To find out more or to apply for Kickstarter funding, visit Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce.