Changes in the Kickstart Scheme

Initial uptake of the UK Kickstart job creation scheme has been disappointing, and the Government has announced changes to make it easier for businesses to get involved.

The Kickstart Scheme provides funding to create new job placements for 16–24 year-olds on Universal Credit who are at risk of long-term unemployment. Employers of all sizes can apply for funding which covers:

  • 100% of the National Minimum Wage (or the National Living Wage depending on the age of the participant) for 25 hours per week for a total of 6 months.

  • associated employer National Insurance contributions

  • employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions

Employers can spread the start date of the job placements up until the end of December 2021.

Initially employers could only participate directly in the scheme if they could offer at least 30 placements, otherwise they had to join via a ‘gateway’. The Department for Work and Pensions has now said that from 3 February 2021, employers can apply directly to the Kickstart scheme for any number of job placements, so that small employers will be able to apply directly.

This change of approach makes the Kickstarter Scheme feel much more like a hiring subsidy.

Find out more about the Kickstarter Scheme here:

Kickstart Scheme - GOV.UK (

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