Guidance

Help employers with the Kickstart Scheme (Kickstart gateway)

Information for Kickstart gateways on how to help employers with the Kickstart Scheme and how to add job placements or employers to the grant agreement.

The Kickstart Scheme has changed.

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

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

What the scheme is

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.

What is a Kickstart gateway?

A Kickstart gateway helps an employer get a Kickstart Scheme grant. They may also offer employability support to the young person on the scheme.

They already have (or are waiting on) a Kickstart Scheme grant agreement. The Kickstart gateway can add more employers and job placements to this grant agreement.

If you are a Kickstart gateway who applied for Kickstart Scheme funding before 28 January 2021 but not yet heard back, we will contact you with a decision. You do not need to apply again.

Kickstart gateways can be any type of organisation. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has performed due diligence checks on these organisations.

Employers can find a Kickstart gateway on this list.

Change your details on the Kickstart gateway list

Email kickstart.interest@dwp.gov.uk if:

  • you want your details removed from GOV.UK
  • your contact information has changed

Essential responsibilities

As a Kickstart gateway with an existing grant agreement with DWP, you’ll need to:

Optional responsibilities

Employability support

You may choose to offer employability support to the young person on behalf of the employer.

This can include:

  • sharing your expertise with the employers to help them onboard and train young people employed through the scheme, for example supporting those with particular disadvantages or working in certain sectors
  • providing employability support directly to young people employed through the scheme

You can offer employability support to an employer outside of your grant agreement. If you do this, this arrangement is between you and the employer.

What you’ll get

You’ll get an initial payment of £1,860. This includes:

£360 per job placement for admin costs

Kickstart gateways will get £360 for each job placement to contribute towards admin costs. You may have to pay £60 of VAT depending on your individual circumstances. Find out if your organisation needs to register to pay VAT.

If you do not pay VAT

£60 from the £360 payment must be added to the £1,500 paid to the employer to provide the young person with employability support.

£1,500 per job placement for setup costs and employability support

This will be paid to you and you will need to pay this to the employer (as well as an extra £60 if you do not pay VAT).

This funding should be spent on setup costs and supporting the young person to develop their employability skills. Employers can choose to get someone else to do this for them, such as a Kickstart gateway or a service provider. If they choose to do this they will have to agree how to share the £1,500.

The employer should use this funding for:

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

Kickstart Scheme wages and costs are paid to you, but you will pass this on to the employer. This funding covers:

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

Job placement criteria

The job placements created with Kickstart Scheme funding must be new jobs. You need to check all of this with the employers you represent.

The job placements 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:

Each job placement needs to help the young person become more employable. The Kickstart gateway needs to agree with the employer how this is done.

This employability support could include:

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

If the employer is not eligible for Kickstart Scheme funding, they can 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 the employer needs to give you

They’ll need to give you:

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

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

Ask them how their 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

The employer needs to tell you:

  • how many employees they have
  • about changes to their 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 their 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 they would be able to create these job placements without Kickstart Scheme funding and what funding source they would use
  • what recruitment they have completed, started or paused in the last 6 months, including how similar these vacancies are or were to the roles they 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 they are using Kickstart Scheme funding to create similar roles
  • if they’ve engaged with any relevant trade unions and any advice the unions have given

How they will support young people to become more employable

They should also tell you:

  • what support will be offered (for example helping young people with writing their CV and preparing for an interview)
  • when they 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 they may already have a pre-existing relationship with training providers or ask you to help with this)
  • how they will monitor this support
  • how the young person can provide feedback during their job placement and afterwards, and how this will be acted on

We provide funding per job placement for setup costs and support. If employers get someone else to do some of this, such as a Kickstart gateway, they will have to agree how to share this money.

How you will get the funding

DWP will send the funding to you as the Kickstart gateway. You will be responsible for sending the funding to the employer.

£1,860 per job placement

You need to inform DWP when the young person starts the job placement. The £1,500 setup costs and £360 admin costs funding will then be paid.

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

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 the employer’s payroll
  • being paid through Pay As You Earn (PAYE)

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

Getting young people into job placements

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

If the job placements are successfully added to the grant agreement:

  1. The Kickstart gateway will give DWP job descriptions that work coaches at Jobcentre Plus will use.

  2. The work coaches will match suitable candidates to the job placements.

  3. The employer will then be able to interview the candidates matched to their job placements.

  4. They’ll select the candidate best suited to the role.

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

After a job placement ends the employer 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 the young person:

  • 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 they leave their job placement early, DWP will pay the grant until the end of the month that they stopped working.

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

How to add employers or job placements to your grant agreement

You can add employers or job placements to your grant agreement with DWP.

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

You will need to get information about the job placements from the employers.

Get in touch with your local or national Kickstart Scheme contact for information about how to add job placements or employers to your grant agreement.

If you are a Kickstart gateway who applied for Kickstart Scheme funding before 28 January 2021 but not yet heard from DWP, we will contact you with a decision. You do not need to apply again.

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

Get in touch with 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.

Coronavirus support

Find coronavirus financial support for your business
Business support (COVID-19)

Employment and recruitment support

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Recruitment advice and support

Published 9 October 2020
Last updated 2 March 2021 + show all updates
  1. 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'.

  2. Updated the guidance to reflect the recent changes to the application process for Kickstart gateways. Only Kickstart gateways who had (or are waiting on) a grant agreement before 28 January 2020 can continue to add job placements or employers to this grant agreement. Also included information about paying VAT on the £360 gateways will receive to contribute towards admin costs.

  3. Added message in 'How to apply on behalf of a group of employers' to say that applications from new Kickstart gateways closed at 0:01am on 28 January 2021.

  4. Added information about changes to the Kickstart Scheme announced on 25 January 2021. Applications from new Kickstart gateways will close on 28 January 2021 and all employers can apply directly online from 3 February 2021.

  5. Added information about how to add new job placements or employers to the grant agreement in 'After you have applied'.

  6. Updated information about Kickstart gateways featured on GOV.UK and added link to Find a Kickstart gateway. Added link to the Disability Confident scheme in 'Further support and help'.

  7. Added note to say that requests to be added to the Kickstart gateway list will no longer be accepted after 16 November 2020. Kickstart gateways can submit a Kickstart Scheme grant application even if they're not on the list.

  8. Added link to new 'find a Kickstart gateway' online service.

  9. First published.