What is the Kickstart Scheme and how is it helping young people affected by the pandemic?
Over the past year, Covid-19 has wreaked havoc on the job industry. With so many businesses unable to operate as normal, it’s no wonder that redundancy is at an all-time high. With businesses and jobseekers struggling under the financial difficulties, the number of people claiming universal credit and jobseekers’ allowance is the highest it’s been since the financial crisis of 2008. However, it’s young people that have been hit the hardest by the economic impact of the pandemic.
With more people out of work, finding and securing a new job has become far more difficult. Nowadays, fresh graduates and school leavers suddenly find themselves competing for entry-level positions with more seasoned professionals and workers with years of experience under their belt. Furthermore, there are far fewer entry-level vacancies, as many employers can no longer afford to invest in the training and development required for brand new candidates.
With the job market being so competitive, and job postings far and few in between, it’s no surprise that those early in their careers are struggling to gain the vital work experience they need to get their foot in the door.
With this in mind, the government’s Kickstart Scheme has been launched to help young people aged between 16 and 24, some of the hardest hit by financial difficulties caused by the pandemic.
By pairing up with local employers, the scheme offers six-month placements to 16 to 24-year-olds who are claiming universal credit and therefore at a greater risk of long-term unemployment due to the pandemic.
The work placements are fully funded by the government, supporting employers with bursaries to ensure that all successful candidates are provided with top-notch training and development to help them better their tools and abilities.
Better yet, the scheme has become so popular with employers that there are job vacancies in many different industries and niches to suit different individuals’ career aspirations and varying skillsets, from more technical and hands-on careers to vocational varieties.
The idea is that after the six-month contract, young people will leave with more knowledge, training, and real-life experience, which will in turn help them find and successfully gain a permanent full-time job.
Who can participate in the Kickstart scheme?
The Kickstart scheme is available to anyone aged 16 to 24, but they must already be in receipt of Universal Credit. This is because the scheme is designed specifically to help young people at risk on long-term unemployment, to help them get their first foot in the door in a pandemic-worn world.
How long will the scheme run for?
Each Kickstart placement lasts 6 months, with a minimum contract of 25 hours per week. Employers are encouraged to offer additional hours, if they have their own funding, but the minimum 25 hours at minimum wage is covered by the government.
The scheme will run until December 2021, so there’s still plenty of time for employers to get involved.
Why is the Kickstart scheme important?
Young people are the future and investing in young people is the key to getting the economy back on its feet, while also supporting young and unharnessed talent.
Unsurprisingly, the recent youth unemployment statistics released by the House of Commons in March 2021 found that the number of young people in unemployment had increased by 11% since the start of the pandemic.
It found that more than 227,000 more young people than before the pandemic have become economically inactive – meaning that there is a huge crisis in unemployment in young people.
The Kickstart scheme helps to create more jobs for young people at risk of long-term unemployment, by fully funding the opportunities with local employers.
This means the scheme helps local employers can get back on their feet too, while simultaneously providing support to young people who are out of work.
How do I find Kickstart jobs?
Candidates can find and discuss Kickstart job opportunities through their work coach. Their work coach will be able to help them find a job they will enjoy and which will help them develop important skills for their desired career path.
Luckily, employers from all industries and niches are getting involved, so the possibilities are endless. There are employers from all kind of niche areas, so you could find yourself a job in marketing, engineering, or even as an outdoor activity instructor.
With a focus on training and development, the young person should feel capable and confident to successfully land a rewarding full-time job afterwards.
I’m an employer. How can I get involved?
Any employer can sign up for the Kickstart scheme, as long as they’re committed to training and supporting a young generation of talent.
So far, since September 2020, there have been over 120,000 jobs created so far by the Kickstart scheme and the government wants to get more employers involved.
The best part for employers is that 100% of the National Minimum Wage is covered for 25 hours, over a period of 6 months. They can also apply for funding for their National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions.
The Kickstart scheme is designed or early career jobseekers and employers alike. With invaluable training and mentoring for the candidates, plus fully-funded support for employers, it’s no wonder that so many jobseekers and employers are getting behind it.