If you are under 25 and looking for work, then the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Kickstart Scheme may be just the ticket for you to secure your next position.
As the Covid-19 pandemic has taken its toll on the employment market, the DWP has announced this new scheme to ‘kickstart’ the employment market.
The government is hoping to create thousands of jobs through the scheme, which was announced in July and officially launched at the start of September 2020. It has put aside £2 billion to fund the scheme.
What is it?
Kickstart is a job creation scheme through which the government will encourage companies to create new work placements and recruit unemployed young people (aged 16-24) to fill the new vacancies.
The aim is to create hundreds of thousands of six-month work placement positions for under 25’s who are currently receiving Universal Credit and are deemed to be at risk of long-term unemployment.
The Covid-19 pandemic has contributed to an increase of around 250,000 people aged 24 and under claiming Universal Credit benefits, since March 2020.
The positions created (and financially supported by the scheme) will be for a six-month placement and at least 25 hours of work per week.
Applicants must be under 25 and on Universal Credit.
Now the scheme has started, we are currently (early September) in the placement creation phase – that is, companies up and down the country are creating openings and submitting the details to the DWP and applying for the funding.
Once approved, the companies will then begin recruiting, although it is important to note that this will be done via job centres (see below).
What’s in it for me?
There are several benefits to the scheme.
Most importantly, perhaps, it is creating new jobs which means more employment opportunities targeted at the under 25’s.
For those who successfully secure a position, it not only offers the usual benefits of employment but for many, a chance to learn and develop new skills and experiences. These will be invaluable as they then progress onto a more permanent position in the future, either at the same company or elsewhere.
For some applicants, they may well find themselves with a permanent job through the scheme – as their employers may decide to make the position full-time after the six months of the scheme comes to an end.
This may be a continuation of the position, or possibly a move within the company to a different role.
Am I eligible?
To be eligible for the scheme, you need to be under 25 and claiming Universal Credit (UC) – so if you are currently unemployed then make sure you have applied for UC.
This can be done online on the government UC application page.
You may also find that this benefits calculator from moneysavingexpert.com may be useful, along with other help and advice it offers on applying.
Due to Covid-19, you do not always need to attend a jobcentre in person at this time – although they will contact you and confirm this after you have applied.
When it comes to applying for a placement through the Kickstart Scheme, if your jobcentre Work Coach does not suggest it, then make a point of asking them and expressing interest in a position you may have seen.
You are initially enrolled on the scheme by your Work Coach and then matched to suitable vacancies.
After this, you will go through the company’s normal interview procedure.
How it works
Universal Credit is paid to both unemployed people and to workers on low incomes, so once you have secured a placement on the Kickstart Scheme, you will continue to receive the benefit, albeit at a reduced rate.
For every £1.00 you earn from working, your UC payment will reduce by £0.63. This is because it has been designed to ensure that you are financially better off working than not.
The government funding provided to the company offering the placement will not only pay 100% of the National Minimum Wage for your placement but also National Insurance contributions and even the minimum pension contributions as well. This means that during the scheme, you are accruing pension funding at the same time!
So as a successful candidate on this scheme, you will earn minimum wage for 25 hours a week, for 6 months, and still be entitled to Universal Credit payments (at the reduced rate).
I have more Questions
Please check out our Kickstart FAQ page.
What to do now
As mentioned above, the first step is to be on Universal Credit, so apply for that if you are not already (using the links above).
Once this is done, then speak to your jobcentre Work Coach about getting enrolled on the Kickstart Scheme.
Finally, make sure that they then match you to Kickstart Placements! If you see any advertised that you feel you are particularly suited to, be sure to mention them to your Work Coach and get put forward for the position.
Make sure that your CV is up to date – you are going to need it. Once you have been put forward for a placement, you will still have to go through the usual job application procedure for it (interviews, etc.)
Also, we’d recommend that you have access to a laptop or PC with a good internet connection. Aside from applying for placements, remember that a large number of positions are being offered remotely at the moment because of ongoing restrictions due to Covid.
Finally – good luck! If you apply for a Kickstart Placement in the next few weeks, we hope it goes well for you and that you gain amazing knowledge and experience through it!
Kickstart at Splento
At Splento, we fully support the government’s Kickstart initiative and we are currently going through the application process with the intention of creating many exciting placements within our organisation.
We will update our blog when the application has been approved.
The Kickstart scheme is about training and gaining valuable work experience for future employment.
Splento has already run a similar training program, Ready4Work (R4W) in July 2020, and we are hoping to expand this and other opportunitues as part of the Kickstart scheme.
R4W v1.0 was a four-week course and the graduates had an amazing time, as you can see from their video diaries. You can only imagine how R4W v2.0 will be – expanded to a full six-month immersive training and working experience with Splento – a leading visual tech company!