As the UK has exited the COVID-19 lockdown and looks forward to recovery as restrictions are eased, the uncertain question on many people’s minds is reentering the job market – not just how they should after a tumultuous stretch of financial uncertainty, but for some whether they should or not, if it’s worth it, and so on. Yet for many, the uncomfortable answer to that question stands as it is — despite some sectors experiencing vast vacancies, steady and desirable employment can still be difficult to find. Fortunately, in order to circumvent this, the DWP has created the Kickstart Scheme to help get young people into the job market.
Why do we need it?
The Kickstart Scheme was started up in the Autumn of 2020. Whilst many workers received furlough pay with the intention of job retention, over 2 million were nevertheless forced to receive unemployment to support themselves, with those between 18 to 24 years old disproportionately affected. This, compounded with the job market of the near future looking to be one of the hardest in several decades, due to employer’s having to close permanently, is exactly why a scheme like Kickstart is a much needed grace, when finding a job will be so deeply competitive and, frankly, brutal for those in the ever cramped graduate career market, further exacerbated.
What exactly is the scheme?
The principal premise of the scheme is that the DWP will reimburse businesses that appoint Kickstart employees by providing one hundred per cent of their salaries (at the country wide minimum/living wage) for 25 hours of work per week over a six month-long work placement. These salaries come out to:
- £462 per month if they are younger than 18
- £656 per month between 18 and 20
- £836 per month between 21 and 22
- £891 per month between 23 and 24
The employers are rewarded with keen employees who have the motivation and aptitude to adapt to a new environment. Naturally, through assuaging the prices of hiring and coaching younger (and generally much less experienced) employees, employers will be incentivised to take on younger and less experienced employees. In return, the Kickstart employee receives job stability and develops skills so that upon the end of the contract, if not permanently hired by the company, they have the skills and experience to move onto something more permanent or a stepping stone for where they hope to go. The scheme is managed by Jobcentre Plus, who have work coaches responsible for allocating compatible candidates for the placements.
In the best of scenarios, Kickstart employees have carried on at their job after the six month contract period. However, even if they do not, employees have come out with excellently developed job skills and in turn the necessary building blocks for professional development on a path to secure long-term employment into an overall better, forward-thinking job market for their skills.
When does it run until?
Only recently, the DWP has issued an extension on the Kickstart scheme that extends the time employers will be able to hire through the programme until March of 2022 — bear in mind that the deadline to create an application is 17th December, in one month’s time. It is possible that with enough support the scheme is extended further, but there’s no word on this so far and is realistically not the more likely outcome, so it’s truly now or never for prospective employees.
Is it worth it?
Feedback coming from successfully placed Kickstart candidates shows the satisfaction ratings seem strong and there is still a vast, vast array of jobs open – many you can find advertised on the jobs posting board on our website – that are sure to have something suitable for any young person looking to find an avenue into a professional life, from a truly diverse range of sectors and types of position.
Ultimately, the Kickstart scheme has proven its worth to many budding employees and we here at Atwood Tate almost always see amazing outcomes for both parties upon a successful Kickstart placement. If you are in the age bracket and looking for work, do consider inquiring at your local Jobseeker’s if only for this reason, bearing in mind the roles on offer are deceptively great, and get onto the scheme.