Q&A | Is the Kickstart Scheme right for my business?

James Potts - Legal Services Director

November 02 2021

The government have extended the Kickstart Scheme until 31 March 2022.

But what does that really mean for you? What benefits will it bring to your business? And when it comes to applying, where do you even begin?

Whether you’re weighing up the scheme or you’ve barely heard of it, we’ve answered all your questions below…

Wait, what is the Kickstart Scheme?

The Kickstart Scheme aims to create new jobs for young people at risk of unemployment.

So, when you use the scheme to hire a 16-24 year old on Universal Credit, you can claim back the cost of the National Minimum Wage. You’ll get this funding for six months after your new starter begins. Plus, you can receive up to £1,500 to cover any training or setup costs.

Essentially, you can hire an employee for six months at virtually no cost to your business.

But you need to be quick – applications close on 17 December. And now the scheme has extended, your new starter can join you on any date up until 31 March next year.

So what’s the catch?

Don’t worry, there’s no real catch to the scheme. But there are key things you need to bear in mind:

  • You need to create an entirely new job – so you can’t use the scheme for existing or planned vacancies.
  • You need offer at least 25 hours' work each week for six months. Once this period is over, you’re free to hire your worker permanently – but you’re not obliged to.
  • You need to provide support to give your participant transferable skills. We’ll cover this more later.

Is the scheme right for my business?

Practically any business can apply to Kickstart Scheme – no matter how big or small. You don’t need to hire a certain number of staff or make a specific turnover.

However, since you can’t replace an existing role, you need to consider new opportunities for your workplace.  

The role needs to be an ‘additional’ role for your business. This means:

  • The job would not exist without Kickstart Scheme funding
  • The job can’t replace existing or planned jobs
  • The placement can’t change your existing staff’s workload or duties. For example, you can’t replace a contractor with a Kickstarter or use the scheme to reduce an employee’s workload.

So, if you can’t think of an additional role, the scheme may not be right for your business.

What are the benefits?

Aside from the obvious financial perk, the scheme is a great way to fill any gaps in your business.

Have you never had the resources to hire a graphic designer? Or maybe you’ve always wanted someone to tackle data analysis…

After a tough 18 months of lockdown disruption, adding a new role to your business can help you bounce back. For example, a Kickstarter could onboard new clients or market your services to a wider audience.

And don’t forget, you’ll be giving someone who is unemployed a potentially life-changing opportunity to start a new career in your industry.

What are my responsibilities as an employer?

Depending on their eligibility, Kickstarter participants are entitled to statutory sick pay and annual leave. And since this isn’t covered by the Kickstart scheme, you still need to cover this.

Plus, you need to support participants in their search for long-term employment. This involves:

  • Helping participants look for long-term work, including career advice and setting goals.
  • Supporting participants with their CV and any interview preparations.
  • Developing participants skills in the workplace, such as teamwork, organisation, and communication.

On top of this, you need to show how you’ll monitor your participant’s progress. This could mean setting targets and tracking them with weekly review meetings.

How can I apply?

You can apply through the government website or through a Kickstart gateway. To apply, you’ll need:

  • Your Companies House reference number, or Charity Commission number
  • Your business address and contact details
  • The details of the job placement(s) and location
  • Supporting information to show the role is an ‘additional’ job which meet the scheme's criteria
  • Information on the how you plan to develop the young person's employability

Once your application is successful, you can add additional job placements to the agreement.

Confused? Our HR consultants can walk you through all you need to know.

Speak to us on 0800 028 2420 or discover our unlimited HR support.

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