Government launches landmark Kickstart Scheme

Last week, the government launched the new £2 billion Kickstart Scheme to create thousands of new jobs for young people across the country. Those on Universal Credit aged between 16-24 will be offered six-month work placements, with wages paid by the government, in a drive to improve skills and employment. I welcome this dynamic drive to get our young people back into work, after such an unprecedented period where they have been disproportionately affected economically.

Businesses are now able to sign up to the scheme, giving unemployed young people a future of opportunity and hope by creating high-quality, government-subsidised jobs. The government will fully fund each job, paying 100% of the age-relevant National Minimum Wage, National Insurance and pension contributions for 25 hours a week.

Employers will be able to top up this wage, while the government will also pay employers £1500 to set up support and training for people on a Kickstart placement, as well as helping pay for uniforms and other set up costs.

The jobs will give young people, with many working in sectors disproportionately hit by the pandemic, the opportunity to build their skills in the workplace and to gain experience to improve their chances of finding long-term work.

Employers can find more information about the scheme here - https://www.gov.uk/government/news/kickstart-scheme-opens-for-employer-applications

Businesses of all sizes looking to create quality jobs for young people can apply and there is no cap on the number of places. I welcome that household names including Tesco have already pledged to offer Kickstart jobs and hope more companies will sign up to this exciting scheme.

I am pleased that young people will be referred into the new roles through their Jobcentre Plus work coach with the first Kickstarts expected to begin this November. I welcome this scheme, which will be delivered by the Department for Work and Pensions and initially be open until December 2021, with the option of being extended.

To help smaller businesses, employers offering fewer than 30 placements will be asked to make a bid through an intermediary, such as a Local Authority or Chamber of Commerce, who will then bid for 30 or more placements as a combined bid from several businesses. This will make the process easier and less labour intensive to apply for these smaller companies who only want to hire one or two Kickstarters.

I know that young people are usually amongst the worst hit by financial crises, and those leaving education this year are entering an extremely difficult and competitive jobs market. The government is fully aware that young people are also more likely to have been furloughed, so this package is extremely welcome. I hope it helps the youngsters in Hornchurch and Upminster in developing their skillset and I encourage as many local employers to sign up to this scheme as possible. My team and I are currently planning our first virtual Apprenticeships Fair which we hope will be beneficial to local employers and school leavers. More information on this will be published on my website in due course, and I hope this will help the Kickstart scheme in getting local young people into work.

Around 700,000 young people are set to leave education and enter the job market this year, with a quarter of a million more people aged under 25 claiming unemployment benefits since March – with youth unemployment having a long-term impact on jobs and wages. The Kickstart scheme was announced in July as part of the Chancellor’s Plan for Jobs, which also included measures to triple the number of traineeships, incentivising employers to hire more apprentices through a £2,000 payment to employers for every apprentice they hire under the age of 25 and investing in our National Careers Service so people can receive bespoke advice on training and work.

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