Supermarket giant Tesco, Network Rail and Domino’s Pizza have announced they will be offering 1,000 apprenticeship roles each, under the Government’s new Kickstart scheme.

The new Kickstart job scheme will pay firms £1,500 to train 16 to 24-year-olds on a six-month placement. As the scheme opened for employers to apply, Domino’s Pizza has guaranteed that anyone who proves to be successful on their placement will be able to apply for a permanent position afterwards. The company also plans to create 5,000 new jobs, as it continues to benefit from the surge in home deliveries since the start of the pandemic.

Unemployment rises

The number of people under the age of 25 who are unemployed has risen by 77% in the last year. This age group are also more likely to be furloughed, increasing their job insecurity. Meanwhile, just 16% of graduates have been able to find employment since March 2020. Chancellor Rishi Sunak says that at the heart of the UK’s recovery from COVID-19 is getting young people back on their feet. He is hoping that his plan for new jobs will encourage businesses to take on new staff during this tricky economic time.

Jobs for young people

As 700,000 young people aged under 25 leave education and enter the job market this year, a quarter of a million more have been claiming unemployment benefits since March 2020. The £2 billion Kickstart scheme aims to give unemployed young people claiming Universal Credit the opportunity to get qualified on full pay. The Government will cover the cost of each “Kickstart” six-month job placement at the age-relevant national minimum wage, along with national insurance and pension contributions. The Government will also give £1,500 to employers to set up support and training for people on the Kickstart scheme and cover the cost of uniforms.

The Government first announced the Kickstart scheme in July 2020 and launched it in September, as part of its Plan for Jobs initiative which sets out a package of support for unemployed young people. It includes trebling the number of traineeships, paying £3,000 per apprentice to employers and investing in the National Careers Service which provides advice on training and work.

Help for small businesses

Small firms who offer less than 30 placements will be required to bid through an intermediary such as their Chamber of Commerce or Local Authority; who will then submit a combined bid from several businesses. While some firms argue this makes the process more complicated, the Government claim this will make the process much easier for small companies who only want to hire one or two people. Many local Chambers of Commerce have begun creating groups of small businesses who wish to apply for the scheme. So employers are encouraged to check there if they want to place a bid.

What do firms need to do?

Employers offering 30 or more placements can submit applicants via the online portal at www.gov.uk/kickstart. If you are offering less than 30 positions, you will need to either partner with another organisation or representative, so your application reaches the required minimum of 30. The Government has published guidelines on finding a representative for a group of employers. More than 500 bodies, including charities, chambers of commerce and local authorities have already signed up as intermediaries.

You can also contact your local JobCentre Employer Partnership Team for help in finding a representative.

HR and recruitment support

For more information and advice on applying for the Kickstart scheme, watch our recent webinar ‘Government Kickstart Scheme’.

The HR Solutions Fixed Fee Recruitment Service manages your hiring process from start to finish, ensuring you only deal with the most serious applicants.

For Kickstart Scheme eligible campaigns, we are offering a 30% discount per campaign; find out more at www.hrsolutions-uk.com/services/fixed-fee-recruitment.

Atim Arden

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