There has been huge confusion at specialist graduate recruitment websites in the last few days after the Department for Work and Pensions told This is Money that companies shouldn’t advertise roles under the Kickstart Scheme yet.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak revealed the scheme nearly two months ago in his mini-budget and said more details would be provided in August about how companies could go about hiring unemployed youth claiming Universal Credit.
But last week the DWP urged companies not advertise Kickstart Scheme roles yet. Recruiters are now appealing for clarity, with many roles already listed.
Missing details: It’s not entirely clear when the final details of the Kickstart Scheme will come to light – pictured, Chancellor Rishi Sunak
One has already said it would look to scrap the Kickstart jobs on its site without notice to companies using the platform to recruit young workers.
Asked whether he’ll inform companies individually of the setback Michele Trusolino, chief executive and co-founder of graduate recruitment app, Debut, said: ‘The companies that have listed the roles are not our clients – so it wouldn’t be our place to do so.
‘Following the news, we may look at delisting those roles which will be discussed this week.’
The Graduate Project, a specialist recruitment website, slammed the DWP for lack of clarity on the matter.
4 Questions employers want answers to now
The Graduate Project have highlighted four questions that employers still want answers to from the Department for Work and Pensions about the Kickstarter Scheme. These are:
- How do employers apply?
- Will the draw down in funding to employers be similar to the Furlough scheme?
- What is the exact eligibility of candidates?
- What level of training needs to be provided e.g. how often and whether they need to be accredited?
Tolga Alkansoy business manager for the company said: ‘Following the DWPs advice to remove adverts, if we are required to take down adverts we will of course adhere to the rules and we will also inform our clients.
‘However, our priority is to continue supporting our clients with finding young people who meet the current criteria given for the scheme.
‘DWP have stated that they can still not comment further on a date since the announcement in July.
‘This again highlights how frustrating the process has been for our clients, employers and The Graduate Project.
‘The lack of information coming from DWP with regards to dates, the mechanism of funding and application leaves much to be desired.’
Kept in the dark
Since last week’s warning by the DWP, recruiters have shared their frustrations after being kept in the dark for several weeks.
Further details regarding the Kickstart Scheme, which was announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in his mini-budget nearly two months ago, were meant to be relayed this month.
Michele Trusolino, CEO and co-founder of Debut says one of the key factors in uptake of the scheme will be how easy it is for employers to use
But last week the DWP told This is Money: ‘We will be publishing details about the Kickstart Scheme and how employers can get involved shortly.
‘Until then, we urge employers to be patient and to not start advertising roles they want to be covered by the scheme.’
This is the latest blow for unemployed youth and the confusion surrounding the Kickstart Scheme also follows the A-Level and GCSE exam results fiasco.
Trusolino said: ‘As we have seen with the A-Level U-turn, clarity in communication is vital and having a moving target of requirements and start dates only serves to disincentivise employers and young people in participation.’
What is the Kickstart Scheme?
The Kickstart Scheme is a six-month high-quality work placement designed to get long-term unemployed young people onto the career ladder.
Skills minister Gillian Keegan describe the scheme as focused on ‘individuals furthest from the jobs market and at risk of not ever entering it’.
The Kickstart Scheme will directly pay employers to create new jobs for six months provided they:
· Can prove that the role is a new job and addition to the company;
· Hire young workers aged between 16-24 years of age;
· Hire workers that are currently claiming Universal Credit;
· Made the young recruits work for a minimum of 25 hours per week and paid at least the National Minimum Wage. The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, said: ‘That means for a 24 year old the grant would be around £6,500.’
Delay in apprenticeships?
The delay in providing further information on the Kickstart Scheme is having repercussions elsewhere.
Alkansoy explained: ‘We have already partnered with Opportunity Access – a specialist training provider to support us in offering a broad range of training to candidates on the scheme, but the lack of communication and clarity is making planning difficult.’
He warned this could affect apprenticeships and many companies who urgently need to hire.
Alkansoy said: ‘The lack of clarity on the above is having an adverse effect on all businesses, especially SMEs that are keen to use the scheme to bounce back and support young people’s futures.
‘Big statements and posturing are futile without substance and clarity alongside.
‘We have been inundated with current clients and new employers speaking to us about how to gain access to the scheme and how they are planning to use the scheme to not only get their business moving again, but to upscale and push their business forward during these difficult times.
Tolga Alkansoy business manager at The Graduate Project has also criticised the DWP for lack of information on the Kickstart Scheme
‘The majority of these clients are also looking to top up wages and offer more hours and we will now have to go back and make them aware there are further delays which will delay the recruitment process and the growth of UK businesses.
‘We are finding that the announcement of the scheme may also prompt employers to hold off on hiring apprentices as the Kickstarter scheme does initially seem more favourable and we have seen this over the last month or so.
‘Ultimately the longer the delay, the more employment opportunities for young people will be missed.’
Trusolino added: ‘Any help young people can get is vital.
‘One of the key factors in uptake of the scheme will be how easy it is for employers to use.
‘We would urge the DWP to outline the full requirements as quickly as possible and have a plan for if there is a second wave of lockdowns and many of these young people cannot make it into their places of work.’