Kickstart Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the Kickstart scheme?

The Kickstart Scheme is a £2 billion fund to create hundreds of thousands of high quality 6-month work placements for young people.

It was launched on the 8th July after the Chancellor announced the Kickstart Scheme as part of the Plan for Jobs. Funding available for each job will cover the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus the associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions.

Young people must also be given employability support as part of their Kickstart job to allow them to develop new skills and to help them move into sustained employment on completion of the 6-month programme. There is additional funding available to support this.

Kickstart UK will deliver this employability support on behalf of your business, so you can focus on your day-to-day job.

Which businesses are eligible for Kickstart funding?

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has indicated that “employers of all sizes can apply for funding,” however, in reality, only businesses that are listed on companies house (or charities or public sector organisations) will be able to pass the DWP due diligence checks at this time.

This is because every business listed on an application must pass a ‘fiscal competency’ test, and DWP’s method for establishing fiscal competency includes checking companies house records.

Unfortunately, just being listed on companies house is no guarantee of funding either. The criteria for passing due diligence isn’t transparent and, to complicate matters, is also evolving. Kickstart UK has found that the majority of businesses using our service are approved, but you will stand a far better chance of approval if you have been trading for more than a year.

The DWP also recognises that sole traders and partnerships not listed on companies house could also provide fantastic Kickstart opportunities, but may have to use a ‘third party’ to apply for funding i.e. the gateway could be the ‘official’ employer and the business ‘hosts’ the young person.

Our best advice is to submit your interest to offer Kickstart jobs as early as possible, in case you are unsuccessful in accessing funding and want to apply again. This may sound strange, but because the approval criteria is evolving, there is a chance that your next application will be a success.

If you are a sole trader or partnership and want to get involved – talk to us about your options.

Can I apply directly for funding?

There are two ways to apply for Kickstart funding…

  1. Work with a Kickstart ‘intermediary’ or ‘gateway’. This is what Kickstart UK is – a Kickstart gateway (supplied by Supplytrain CIC) that supports you through the application process, deals with Job Centre Plus on your behalf and delivers the mandatory employability support to each young person. To fund our service we keep £500 of the £1,500 grant allocated to supporting each young person in post.  
  2. Apply directly for funding. If you want to deliver the mandatory employability support yourself and have the time and energy to deal directly with government departments, this is the option for you. You will hold on to the whole £1,500 grant, but it is more difficult to be appoved for funding by going down this route 10% of vacancies are approved, compared to 92% through Kickstart UK). There are also stricter rules relating to the ratio of kickstarters your business can take and you must be able to evidence how you are using that setup and support funding. 

By choosing Kickstart UK as your Kickstart gateway we will do the admin work on your behalf, pass on up to a £1,000 grant funding and provide £500 worth of employability support to the young person before, during and after their placement. We think this is really good value for money, but do give us a call if you want to discuss your options. We are happy to help you to think it through.

Which young people are eligible for Kickstart jobs?

Kickstart jobs can only be offered to young people aged 16-24, in receipt of Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment. They will be signposted to Kickstart placements by their Jobcentre Plus work coach. You will get to carry out the interview process of your choosing and select candidates you feel are the best fit for your organisation.

Please note: If you know a young person that you’d like to offer a Kickstart job to, they might not be eligible, even if they are in receipt of Universal Credit because they may not meet the ‘at risk of long-term unemployment’ criteria.

In some parts of the country the Kickstart scheme has been opened up to a wider range of people. However, this is area dependent and continues to change, so email us if you are in any doubt about young person eligibility:

Kickstart UK will work with Jobcentre Plus to find suitable applicants for you to interview and select. Plus, we will provide advice and guidance to help you and the young person get the most from the opportunity.

How long does the Kickstart application process take?

Whether you apply directly or use a Kickstart gateway, it takes approximately 8-10 weeks to confirm your organisation is eligible, identify suitable candidates, interview and commence employment through the scheme. It is not a quick process, so it’s best to apply early and plan as far in advance as possible. 

By working with Kickstart UK – we will keep you informed on how the application is progressing and when to gear up for interview and employment. You can carry on with your usual day-to-day work schedule until we have confirmation the DWP will fund Kickstart jobs in your business. 

How long does the Kickstart scheme last for?

Employers have until the 17th December to be approved for funding, so you should apply in November at the latest. Kickstart jobs can then start any time before 31st March 2022.

You don’t need to wait to get everything in place before submitting your interest in the scheme as you do not need to start the placements straight away. You just need to be committed to offering the placement during the life of the scheme.

Kickstart UK will apply on your behalf, let you know when it’s likely the DWP will approve funding, then work to your timescale of offering Kickstart opportunities.

What must the employability support include?

Each person in a Kickstart job must be developing new skills and receiving support to help them move into sustained employment on completion of their placement.

There is government funding of £1,500 for each placement to cover the costs of both employability support and associated costs of employment.

The employability support must include work skills training on:
• Attendance
• Timekeeping
• Communication
• Teamwork
• Travelling to work
• CV and interviews
• Looking for long-term work

Kickstart UK will manage and deliver this mandatory employability support on your behalf. This costs us £500 to deliver, so we are about to pass on up to £1,000 of the grant funding so you can help that young person with PPE, supervision, equipments and other on-costs you might face. We must see evidence of this spend to pass on £1,000 worth of grant funding for your on-boarding costs. 

How are the Kickstart wage reimbursements structured? 

Once a young person starts with you in a Kickstart job you will be committed to paying wages.

You pay wages to the young person as part of your normal payroll arrangements and the government reimburses you in arrears, via the Kickstart gateway. The first payment should come to the gateway at seven weeks, then monthly from that point forward.

Please note: It’s really important to understand how and when a Kickstart gateway will forward the wage reimbursements to you, so that you can manage cashflow. It should be passed on within 5 working days of receipt. This can mean that you must cashflow the first two months wages – do not apply for Kickstart funding if you cannot commit to this.   

The DWP wage reimbursement cover 25 hours week at the appropriate age-related Minimum Wage, plus the associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions.

If you choose to pay the young person more than National Minimum Wage or offer them more than 25 hours a week – that’s great! – but you will not be reimbursed for these additional costs.

Kickstart UK will pass on wage reimbursements via BACS transfer. This means as soon as we have received the money from DWP and reconciled our accounts we can transfer the wages into your bank account. You will not have to invoice for wages and wait an additional 30 days (for example). 

What if I want to keep the young person past the six-month?

The Kickstart scheme will give you the opportunity to bring new talent into your organisation. You may wish to hold onto, and further develop, this talent by offering young people an apprenticeship or permanent position.

If this is the case, you can do so at any point during the placement or by agreeing a progression opportunity as the placement completes. If you move someone onto an apprenticeship or into a full-time role before the placement has finished, you will no longer be eligible for reimbursement of wages from that point forward.

By working with Kickstart UK – we will work with you and the young person as the placement nears its end to identify any suitable progression opportunities and provide impartial advice if you want to retain young people. If you are unable to keep a young person after the funding has ended, we ask you to provide a written reference so that they are better able to secure long-term work elsewhere at the end of the scheme.

Kickstart UK is run by Supplytrain CIC – a social enterprise committed to helping small businesses employ and train young people.

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