Guidance

Apply for a Kickstart Scheme grant

If you're an employer looking to create job placements for young people, you can apply for funding as part of the Kickstart Scheme.

The Kickstart Scheme has changed.

You no longer need a minimum of 30 job placements to apply directly for a grant.

You can now apply for a Kickstart Scheme grant by either:

  • applying online yourself
  • applying through a Kickstart gateway who is already working with the Kickstart Scheme

How the scheme works

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 job placements up until the end of December 2021.

Further funding is available to provide support so that young people on the scheme can get a job in the future.

How to apply

You can apply for a Kickstart Scheme grant by either:

  • applying online yourself
  • applying through a Kickstart gateway who is already working with the Kickstart Scheme

You do not need to apply again if you’ve already successfully applied for a Kickstart Scheme grant. Find out how to create more job placements.

What is a Kickstart gateway?

A Kickstart gateway already has a Kickstart Scheme grant agreement with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). They can add employers and job placements to this grant agreement.

A Kickstart gateway can be any type of organisation, such as a local authority, charity or trade body.

Kickstart gateways will:

  • gather information about the job placements you’d like to offer
  • share this information with DWP on your behalf
  • pay the funding to you (for example the young person’s salary)

They may also offer employability support to the young people in the job placement.

Find a Kickstart gateway.

What you’ll get

£1,500 per job placement

You’ll get £1,500 funding per job placement. This should be spent on setup costs and supporting the young person to develop their employability skills.

For example:

  • training and employability support (provided by you, a Kickstart gateway or another provider)
  • IT equipment and software
  • uniform or Personal Protective Equipment

The funding covers:

Employers can pay a higher wage and for more hours but the funding will not cover this.

What the Kickstart gateway will get

Kickstart gateways will get £360 for each job placement to cover admin costs. They may have to pay VAT on this amount depending on their individual circumstances.

If they do not pay VAT, £60 from this payment will be paid to you by the Kickstart gateway (in addition to the £1,500 funding) to further support the young person.

Job placement criteria

The job placements created with Kickstart Scheme funding must be new jobs. They 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:

For each job placement you must help the young person become more employable. This could include:

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

If you are not eligible for Kickstart Scheme funding, find out about other employment schemes.

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

What you need to provide

You will need:

  • your Companies House reference number, Charity Commission number or Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator number, if you have one
  • your organisation address and contact details
  • details of the job placements and their location

DWP performs due diligence checks on all employers and Kickstart gateways using the Cabinet Office Spotlight tool.

Tell us or your Kickstart gateway how your 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

Tell us or 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 source 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
  • 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

Tell us or your Kickstart gateway:

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

You get £1,500 funding per job placement for setup costs and support. If you someone else helps you do some of this, you’ll have to agree how you will share this money.

How you will get the funding

If you apply online, DWP will send the funding directly to you.

If you apply through a Kickstart gateway, DWP will send the funding to them. The Kickstart gateway will be responsible for sending the funding to you.

£1,500 per job placement

If you apply directly, the £1,500 funding for setup costs will be paid when you tell us that the young person has started the job placement.

If you apply through a Kickstart gateway, you need to tell them when the young person starts their job placement. They can then send you the £1,500 funding once they’ve received it from DWP.

If a Kickstart gateway or another provider does some of the job placement setup or employability support for you, you can use the £1,500 funding to cover this.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will use information from HMRC to check that the young person is still employed. The grant funding to pay the young person’s salary will be paid in monthly arrears when we know they are:

  • enrolled on your payroll
  • being paid through Pay As You Earn (PAYE)

You can pay a higher wage and for more hours but the funding will not cover this.

Funding schedule

The schedule shows when the funding will be sent to either:

  • you if you applied directly
  • your gateway (they will then need to pass the funding on to you)
Funding type When we usually process the funding When you’ll usually receive the funding
Setup costs After you or your gateway has told DWP the young person has started Up to 11 working days after it’s been processed
First wage payment 6 weeks after the start date Up to 11 working days after it’s been processed
All other wage payments 4 weeks after the previous wage payment Up to 11 working days after it’s been processed

Getting the young people into the job placements

Kickstart Scheme job placements are only available for Universal Credit claimants aged 16 to 24 who are referred to you by DWP.

If your application is successful:

  1. You or your Kickstart gateway will give DWP job descriptions that work coaches at Jobcentre Plus will use to match candidates to the job placements.

  2. You or your Kickstart gateway will receive a notification email each time a young person is referred to the job placement (‘referrals’).

  3. Referred candidates may choose to apply for the job placement.

  4. You’ll then be able to interview the candidates who have applied.

  5. You or your Kickstart gateway will tell DWP when the young person has started so we can process the funding.

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

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

If a young person leaves the job placement early

You must tell DWP as soon as possible if a young person either:

  • leaves their job placement before the end of the 6-month period
  • needs to temporarily leave their job placement (for example for special leave or coronavirus-related restrictions)

If a young person leaves their job placement early, the next scheduled wage payment from DWP will be the last you receive for them.

DWP may be able to extend the funding period if the young person has to temporarily stop working.

How to apply

You can apply for a Kickstart Scheme grant by either:

  • applying online yourself
  • applying through a Kickstart gateway who is already working with the Kickstart Scheme

Apply online

You will need to provide information about the job placements during the application.

Public sector organisations and exempt charities should enter ‘0’ when asked for a Companies House or Charity Commission number.

Apply online

Apply through a Kickstart gateway

Find a Kickstart gateway that is already working with the Kickstart Scheme.

Whoever represents you will add your job placements to their existing grant agreement with DWP. You’ll need to give them information about the job placements.

After you have applied

We’ll aim to email you or your Kickstart gateway with a decision on the application within one month.

The job placements do not exist until the application has been approved and you have signed the grant agreement with DWP or your Kickstart gateway.

Add more job placements to your grant agreement

You can add more job placements to your grant agreement after it has been approved. You do not need to apply again.

The additional job placements will be assessed to make sure they meet the Kickstart Scheme criteria.

If you applied directly, get in touch with your local or national Kickstart Scheme contact for information about how to add more job placements to your grant agreement.

If you applied through a Kickstart gateway, tell them you’d like to add more job placements to the grant agreement. They will contact DWP to arrange this.

Other employment schemes

Kickstart Scheme is part of the government’s Plan for Jobs. Other employment schemes in this include:

Apprenticeships

You may be able to get funding for any apprentices you employ in England. Find out more about apprenticeships.

Sector-based Work Academy Programme (SWAP)

Jobcentre Plus can support you to create a skilled workforce for your business by offering unemployed people sector-based work academies in England and Scotland.

Traineeships

Employers in England can also help young people by setting up a traineeship. Funding is available for this scheme.

Further support and help

Contact your local or national Kickstart Scheme contact if you need help with the application process.

You can also read top tips for making a Kickstart Scheme application and guidance for employers on choosing a Kickstart gateway.

Disability Confident

The Disability Confident scheme provides employers with the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to make the most of the talents disabled people can bring to the workplace.

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Published 3 February 2021
Last updated 5 March 2021 + show all updates
  1. Added the funding schedule to 'How you will get the funding' and added more detail to the steps in 'Getting the young people into the job placements'.

  2. Added information about what employers should spend the £1,500 funding for setup costs on in 'What you'll get'. Also added information about what to do if a young person leaves their job placement early in 'Getting the young people into the job placements'.

  3. First published.