We have applied to become an Employer Representative to help support businesses create new job placements for 16 to 24-year olds who are currently unemployed.

I attended a webinar on Thursday where the Department of Work and Pensions provided more information on the Kickstart Scheme. I thought it was therefore important to share the key messages as some of this you will be unaware of.

We are also still awaiting official confirmation that our application to become an Employer Representative has been approved. In addition, we have raised this yet again. We have been told our application is still being assessed along with hundreds of others.

We have captured the key points below on everything you need to know, and important updates include:

  • Employee/Placement ratio
  • Advertising of roles
  • Training costs
  • Payroll

 

What is the Kickstart Scheme?

The Kickstart Scheme provides funding to create new job placements for 16 to 24 year-olds on Universal Credit who are at risk of long term unemployment. Employers of all sizes can apply for funding which covers:

Employers can spread the start date of the placements up until the end of December 2021.

 

Using a Kickstart Gateway

A Kickstart gateway is an organisation (such as The HR Booth) that has shown interest in representing employers who want to apply for 29 or less job placements. Kickstart gateways can be any type of organisation. DWP performs due diligence checks on these businesses as well as checking the details of the businesses they are representing.

£1,500 per job placement for employers

Every job placement created gets £1,500 funding. This will be paid to the Gateway Representative and not you, the employer. As some of this money is to cover training, you need to agree with your representative how much of this you will receive.

You can use your portion of the £1500 to cover on the job training, external training, equipment and PPE. You need to inform your Gateway representative how this is broken down for audit purposes.

Kickstart Scheme wages and related costs for employers

Your placements will not be on your payroll but instead on the payroll of your Kickstart Gateway. They will be responsible for everything to do with Payroll, including new start details, P45/P46 and payslips.

Your placement will be paid the following:

You can choose to pay a higher wage and for more hours but the funding will not cover this. You will need to agree how this works with your Kickstart Gateway.

Job placement criteria

The job placements created with Kickstart Scheme funding must be new jobs. You need to check all of this with the employers you represent.

The job placements must not:

  • replace existing or planned vacancies
  • cause existing employees, apprentices or contractors to lose work or reduce their working hours

 

The job placements must:

  • be a minimum of 25 hours per week, for 6 months
  • pay at least the National Minimum Wage or the National Living Wage for the employee’s age group
  • only require basic training

 

Each job placement needs to help the young person become more employable. The Kickstart Gateway needs to agree with the employer how this is done.

This employability support could include:

  • looking for long-term work, including career advice and setting goals
  • support with CV and interview preparations
  • developing their skills in the workplace

 

The young person may be able to move to another employment scheme when they’ve finished their 6-month Kickstart Scheme job placement.

Demonstrate the job placements are new and created just for the scheme

The job placements must not:

  • replace existing or planned vacancies
  • cause existing employees, apprentices or contractors to lose work or reduce their working hours

 

You need to inform your Kickstart Gateway:

  • how many employees you have
  • about changes to your workforce in the last 6 months and why (for example redundancies and changes to hours worked by existing staff)
  • the number of people affected by changes to your workforce in the last 6 months
  • about the kinds of roles, functions and average salary of those who were made redundant or who had their hours reduced in the last 6 months
  • if you would be able to create these job placements without Kickstart Scheme funding and what funding sources you would use
  • what recruitment you have completed, started or paused in the last 6 months, including how similar these vacancies are or were to the roles you are creating for the Kickstart Scheme
  • Furthermore, if the job placements will be similar to existing or planned roles or the roles previously done by those made redundant or with fewer working hours, why you are using Kickstart Scheme funding to create similar roles
  • if you’ve engaged with any relevant trade unions and any advice the unions have given

How you will support young people to become more employable

You should also tell your Kickstart Gateway:

  • what support will be offered (for example helping young people with writing their CV and preparing for an interview)
  • when they will provide this support (for example halfway through their placement or towards the end)
  • how many hours it will take
  • who will provide the support (for example they may already have a pre-existing relationship with training providers or ask you to help with this)
  • how they will monitor this support
  • how the young person can provide feedback during their placement and afterwards, and how this will be acted on

Advertising Roles

Whilst there’s nothing to stop you promoting the jobs yourself, all applicants must be referred to the Job Centre. A Job Centre Coach will liaise directly with the Kickstart Gateway who will work with you to share details of the applicants.

You can select any of the applicants put forward and the Job Centre will have no input into the interview process.

You should also be aware that eligible candidates must be claiming Universal Credit and are aged 16 to 24. In addition, they must also have been referred to employers by DWP. Other benefits such as Job Seekers Allowance are not eligible at this state.

The Kickstart Gateway will give DWP job descriptions that work coaches at Jobcentre Plus will use. Work coaches will match suitable candidates to the job placements.

The employer will then be able to interview the candidates matched to their job placements. You will select the candidate best suited to the role.

Funding will only be given if a young person is hired using the Kickstart Scheme process.

After a job placement ends the employer can get another Kickstart Scheme young person to start another job placement.

Eligibility

You should also be aware there’s a ratio of 3 employees to 1 placement. Therefore, if you employ 6 staff, you can only have 2 placements at any one time. The 3:1 ratio is compulsory and forms part of the due diligence checks.

Using The HR Booth as a Kickstart Gateway

Although our application to become a Kickstart Gateway has still to be approved, we are taking steps to ensure we are prepared to support you. This includes the appointment of a new Employability Development Manager who will work with DWP, you the employer and your representative.

As part of our Kickstart programme, we’ll cover the following:

Employability Training for all your placements, which will cover subjects including CV writing, application forms, interview skills, communication skills, preparing for work, confidence, professional standards. We will retain £400 from the £1500 placement to cover these costs, ensuring you have the remaining £1100 to cover your own specific training and equipment costs.

We will ensure their monthly payroll is processed and hold a 1-1 call with each placement monthly. In addition, checking their progress and to ensure the relevant support is in place. You will manage the performance of the placement on a day to day basis.

Furthermore, our aim is to help support you to make this role permanent and assist with your future needs.

No monies are required to be paid back should the placement leave.

It’s important you have realistic expectations of the placement – our role is to kickstart their career and provide them with transferable skills to help them gain future employment. Contact us for more information.