The launch of the Kickstart Scheme to create jobs for younger people on Universal Credit is still lacking the final details despite being announced nearly two months ago, This is Money can reveal.
Meanwhile, some employers are already advertising for future roles through the scheme, with several spotted on recruitment platforms LinkedIn, Monster and Totaljobs – but the Government is advising them not to.
The DWP said: ‘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.’
Kickstart Scheme: It is designed to prevent huge numbers of young people from becoming stuck in an unemployment rut – pictured, Chancellor Rishi Sunak
When pressed for a reason to halt the recruitment drive and to give a date on when more clarity would be given, a DWP spokesperson said it couldn’t comment further but assured that details would be published ‘very shortly in accordance with the Chancellor’s announcement’.
It’s been seven weeks since Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the Government’s intention to launch the Kickstart Scheme in his emergency coronavirus mini-budget in July.
It will aim to create new, ‘quality’ jobs for those aged 16 to 24. It is set to cost £2.1billion, but according to Treasury documents the final costs and timing of spending is ‘subject to take up.’
He said in his ‘A Plan for Jobs 2020’ speech: ‘Employers can apply to be part of the scheme from next month, with the first Kickstarters in their new jobs this autumn.’
But to date no application process has been set up for employers to register their interest in taking part and autumn is now technically weeks away.
The Chancellor also urged employers big or small, national or local, to hire as many Kickstarters as possible.
He highlighted that these jobs had to be ‘new’ and that ‘funding would be conditional on the firm proving these jobs are additional’.
However, there were no warnings given at the time not to advertise jobs in order to hire young workers in time for the autumn.
What is the Kickstarter 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.’
‘Waiting in the wings’
Big names have been said to be supporters of the Kickstarter Scheme including companies such as Barratt, the UK’s biggest house builder, Sainsbury’s, BT and Barclays.
Meanwhile, a number of SMEs have voiced their concerns and frustrations on the lack of information available about how to register for the scheme and start the recruitment process.
Sara Keel, chief executive and founder of Babycup Ltd which sells and promotes baby feeding products, said she is champing at the bit to start recruiting.
Sara Keel, chief executive and founder of Babycup Ltd said she is keen to move forwards if the detail of Kickstart is as good as Rishi’s headlines made it sound
She said: ‘The Chancellor announced this £2billion programme some weeks back now but so far no stakeholders have been able to jump on it and get moving as no detail has been forthcoming.
‘We’ve read of experts warning of practical challenges for businesses to consider but who knows what those are as we don’t even know yet how to apply to the scheme or what the fine print contains.
‘Like many British businesses, Babycup is keen to move forwards and if the detail of Kickstart is as good as Rishi’s headlines made it sound, we’d like to get cracking with a placement for a young person to join us as soon as possible.’
She adds: ‘This is so frustrating for all the young people who could benefit from this scheme and for all the businesses who are keen to get involved and offer Kickstart roles.’
Sadie Hopson, CEO of mental health and wellbeing specialists We Work Well says she’s also been waiting on more clarity regarding the Kickstart Scheme
Sadie Hopson, chief executive of mental health and wellbeing specialists, We Work Well said she was also awaiting more clarity from the Government as they’re keen to recruit a training administrator to support trainers and develop content.
She said: ‘I understand that interested employers will need to go through an application process so have been awaiting more information from the government about the next steps to take to enter into the scheme.
Olamide Adenugba of property and planning consultants Tunji Adebayo & Co, also voiced her frustrations: ‘We are literally waiting in the wings to hire someone on this scheme and have spoken to a few people who are fresh out of university.’
Some entrepreneurs are refusing to engage in potential recruitment talks until more clarity is given.
Naomi Bennett, chief executive and founder at digital firm LesFlicks, said: ‘I don’t think we can advertise a job. The scheme says you have to prove the job didn’t exist before the scheme – so promoting the job now would go against you.
‘I have some key roles in mind – all new, but until we have details I’m not moving. I need to make sure I’m eligible.
‘As a digital new business, I’m quite excited to see if I can find some ambitious young talent.’
Thousands of unemployed youth
The news of a potential delay in the announcement of the workings of the Kickstart Scheme come as fresh figures from the Office for National Statistics revealed today that an estimated 765,000 young people aged between 16-24 were not in education, employment or training (NEET) in April to June 2020.
Lianne Onslow, founder of LMO Development says the Kickstart Scheme is enticing and is needed as it will help young people furthest from the job market
The ONS said this was a decrease of 28,000 compared to April to June 2019 and was down by 6,000 compared to January to March 2020.
The ONS added: ‘Of all young people in the UK who were NEET in April to June 2020, an estimated 39 per cent were looking for, and available for, work and therefore classified as unemployed; the remainder were either not looking for work and/or not available for work and were classified as economically inactive.’
Commenting on the ONS figures, Janine Chamberlin director at LinkedIn, said: ‘We’re facing the toughest labour market in a generation, especially for younger people.
‘LinkedIn data shows that there are three times as many people applying to every role compared to a year ago.’
It comes comes after the A Level and GCSE exam results fiasco. The scheme is aiming to create up to 350,000 new roles.
It’s ideal for those wanting to make a difference
Despite the delay, the Kickstart Scheme has been welcomed by recruitment experts.
Lianne Onslow, founder of LMO Development a talent and learning consultancy, said: ‘Kickstarter is enticing, and as a concept to help young people furthest from the job market it is so well needed.
‘I genuinely think that the success of the Kickstarter Scheme rests on managing the expectations of small business owners.
‘Businesses get some level of staffing support at no cost, and are supporting a young person into work which is fantastic from a social point of view, they just also need to be willing to put the additional support and time in that may be needed to help that young person grow.
‘For a business wanting to make a difference and with an understanding of their role in this young person’s journey, they are ideal.’
Kickstarter scheme compared with apprenticeship and traineeship
An apprenticeship is a programme of at least 12 months, combining employment with study and on-the-job training. Apprentices are employed, and there is no age limit.
A traineeship is a programme of study and work placement between six weeks and six months but, according to the Chancellor’s ‘A Plan for Jobs 2020’ it can be up to 12 months for this academic year.
Lianne Onslow adds: ‘It [the traineeship programme] is designed to help a young person (16-24 years) with little or no work experience to become work ready.
‘Trainees are not employees (so no salary) and will be with you on work placement for approximately three days per week.’