Kickstart scheme refreshed

The government is to simplify the requirements for its Kickstart scheme, the flagship programme designed to create jobs for 16- to 24-year-olds, by reducing the limit for the number of vacancies employers must supply

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said the scheme, which has been underway since September, has created over 120,000 jobs, but there has been criticism of the bureaucracy involved. The start dates for these jobs vary but will all begin this year, the department said.

The government is now making it simpler for employers of all sizes to benefit from joining the scheme by removing the limit requiring they create a minimum of 30 vacancies to apply directly. This takes effect from 3 February.

Thérèse Coffey, secretary of state for work and pensions said: ‘Kickstart has moved up a gear and I encourage employers to join us and invest in the next generation of talent by joining our Kickstart scheme.

‘By removing the threshold of a minimum 30 jobs for direct applications, we are making it even simpler to get involved.

‘Now is the time to prepare for post-lockdown placements and employers will now have a choice to apply direct or through one of our 600 fantastic Kickstart gateways who may be locally connected or sector-specific providing that tailored support.’

There is £2bn of funding available under the scheme, which is administered via gateway organisations such as a local authority or Chamber of Commerce.

DWP said that since applications opened in September, there are now more than 600 approved gateways covering many sectors and all parts of the country.

Referrals to the Kickstart Scheme will run until December 2021.

Adam Marshall, British Chambers of Commerce director general, said: ‘We hope that Department for Work and Pensions will commit to clear the backlog of approvals needed for placements already in the system before processing any new placements, and that they will continue to encourage small business to work with gateways.

‘Chambers across the country stand ready to support small businesses who want a helping hand navigating often complex bureaucracy.’

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