The Kickstart Job Scheme for Youth Employment
One of the inevitable fallouts of the Coronavirus Pandemic is the impact on levels of unemployment in the UK.
Young people appear to have been hit hardest by this, the likely reason being that many people aged 16-24 work in more transient or low skilled jobs, often making them easier to dismiss and replace at short notice.
In order to address this, in September 2020 the UK government launched the Youth Job Scheme, known as the “Kickstart Scheme”. The scheme is now well underway and a report conducted by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has recently been published.
The report identified that, whilst they supported the government’s mission to encourage young workers during the pandemic, the rushed implementation of the Kickstart Scheme, lack of guidance to employers and failures of implementing follow ups to measure progress were contributing factors to the scheme being inadequate and “chaotic”.
The report recommended that the government should request for the £1,500 grant to be returned from employers who have not used the money for the purposes of supporting their placement employees through the Kickstart Scheme. However, doing this may have a negative effect on the scheme and instead they should shift the focus on providing clearer guidance to employers and ensuring both employee and employer are satisfied during the placement.
What is the Kickstart Scheme?
The Kickstart Scheme is a £1.9 billion scheme with the objective of delivering funding to employers to create new jobs for 16–24-year-olds on Universal Credit who are at risk of long-term unemployment.
The Kickstart Scheme has been open to employers of all sizes. Employers who engage in this will receive a grant of £1500.00 per employee to help cover set-up costs, for example:
- training and employability support
- IT equipment and software
- uniform or Personal Protective Equipment
In return, employers will be expected to offer support to those employees that they take on under the scheme to develop new skills and obtain hands on experience within the selected industry. The scheme will additionally cover the national minimum wage for a 6-month period of 25 hours a week for each placement.
Has the Kickstart Scheme been successful so far?
Whilst the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) did not hit the original target of employing 250,000 young people on the Kickstart Scheme, it has encouraged 130,0000 young people to get back into work and provides an excellent opportunity to get on the career ladder and improve their prospects.
Youth unemployment is a big issue and it is vital that it is addressed through means such as the Kickstart Scheme.
The Kickstart Scheme’s effectiveness could be improved by linking with schools and perhaps being offered as an alternative to apprenticeships. Greater advertising of the scheme would also be beneficial.
If you would like advice in relation to the Kickstart Scheme or any other support programmes please contact the employment team using the form below.