During these unprecedented times, as an employer you will have had many decisions to make about how to best survive as a company in the current climate. It could be that you are operating in a sector where it might be slightly easier than other sectors to negotiate your way through the Coronavirus pandemic and the difficulties that it is creating for the economy.
And the Coronavirus pandemic has certainly amplified the difficulties faced by young people when it comes to looking for employment. While many have been furloughed, others have lost their jobs altogether. And still others are looking for employment – sometimes their first job – and are unable to find or land a role.
This is especially true of young people who are looking for work in industries such as entertainment, hospitality and leisure where contact with others is part of the role. Of course, many of these places have also been closed for a period, too.
Since jobs have become more scarce, young people have been one of the worst hit age groups and many of them have been unable to work for months. During the last quarter, compared to other age groups, it is young people who have borne the brunt of the şack of employment. It is they who have suffered the biggest drop.
Of the jobs that are available, some young people have applied for well over 100p jobs without success This includes recent graduates as well as school leavers looking for entry level jobs to begin their career.
With this in mind, it isn’t difficult to see why Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has announced a government Kickstart Scheme. As an employer, it could be an initiative that you can make use of where you can benefit both your company and young people looking to get into work. For some young people, it could be their first role whilst, for others, they may have been unemployed for some time.
Let’s take a closer look at the government Kickstart scheme
What Is The Government Kickstart Scheme?
The government’s Kickstart Scheme started at the beginning of September 2020 and it creates work placements for young people between the ages of 16 and 24. On completing the work placement, it is hoped that those young people will then go on to either work for the company or at least have the tools under their belt that will give them the confidence to apply for other roles.
For each young person given a place on the Kickstart scheme, you as an employer will be given £1500.
We have written in the past about how some employers struggle to fill those difficult to fill roles and offered some strategies to help combat this. The Kickstart scheme could be ideal for you if you are an employer in a sector that is associated with difficult to fill roles.
If you have been looking at ways to attract long term unemployed young people into your workplace then Kickstart could be the perfect opportunity.
The Kickstart scheme can be used as a stepping stone both for yourself and for the young person. Apprenticeships are a really useful way for young people to get formal training and nationally recognised qualifications but for some young people, they may be afraid of committing to an Apprenticeship without knowing too much about the company or the trade or profession they are thinking about.
Kickstart can be a taster where they can decide if your sector is the right choice for them. Giving a young person an opportunity via the government Kickstart scheme gives them some valuable work experience and helps to build their confidence in the workplace.
At the end of the placement, if they are happy to continue and you want to employ them, you could land yourself quality Apprentices that might otherwise have slipped through the net. There is a lot of untapped talent amongst young people who have been unemployed long term and this situation has been amplified by the pandemic.
How Does The Government Kickstart Scheme Work?
If you are interested in the government Kickstart scheme and are wondering how to go about getting young people into work placements within your company, here’s how it works:
- First of all, who are the young people who will be eligible for the Kickstart scheme? They are people who are claiming Universal Credit and who are aged between 16 and 24. Around half a million young people meet these requirements.
- Job Centre staff will be given the task of identifying which young people should be selected – the ones identified are those who look like they are going to be out of work for some time due to the pandemic and from lack of workplace experience or confidence.
- When a young person has been chosen for the Kickstart scheme, it is not about putting them in at the deep end. Job Centre work coaches will work with those people both before the programme and afterwards.
- The Kickstart scheme is government funded so if you take on young people in your workplace, they will work 25 hours per week and the government will cover the relevant wages, National Insurance and pension contributions. Each person will be paid the minimum wage relevant to their age group.
- If you have full time roles or extra hours on offer where you think young people could benefit from further experience and confidence building, you can offer the extra hours and top the wages up.
- The first placements will begin in November 2020 and, initially, the Kickstart scheme will run into 2021. There have been hints that if the programme is successful, it could be extended.
For some, programmes like the Kickstart programme are met with scepticism. Those people argue that there are unscrupulous employers out there who will use the kickstart programme purely to their own advantage.
Why would they pay full time staff when they can take advantage and be paid to take on young people and, effectively, use them as slave labour. These types of employer, critics say, have no intention of offering a future job at the end of the placement.
Whilst this certainly needs taking into consideration, there are many potential benefits in being involved in the Kickstart programme for both you, as a responsible employer and your young recruits.
- As the scheme is government funded, there is no financial cost to you unless you want to offer more hours to your young staff.
- The Kickstart programme can boost your good reputation as you will be seen as an employer who is willing to invest time in young people to develop their skills and confidence in the workplace.
- You can use it as an opportunity to attract young people to your sector who might otherwise have slipped through the net.
- You can use it as an opportunity to boost diversity within your workplace and your sector. Many roles, for example, are traditionally seen as male roles or female roles. If you are looking to attract more females into your engineering roles, for example, the Kickstart programme could give you the chance to do this.
The kickstart programme can be a great way to offer some genuine training to those young people who are identified as most needing it. If you are able to offer a full time role or an Apprenticeship at the end of it, that can benefit both you and your recruit.
And, if you are genuinely not in a position to offer employment at the end of the placement, you have still given a young person the opportunity to build confidence, develop transferable workplace skills and to have valuable work experience under their belt for when they apply for future roles.
How Do Employers Apply For The Kickstart Scheme?
The government has said 2 billion pounds will be spent which will fund over 250,000 places and, as mentioned above, if the Kickstart scheme is a success, then more money could be released to continue funding the programme.
For each young person you take onto the programme, you will be given £1500. This money is to go towards the set up of the programme within your workplace and for any additional training you may need to provide for your recruits and also for items such as uniforms or safety clothing, for example.
If you are keen to be involved in the Kickstart programme and helping young people succeed in the workplace, visit www.gov.uk/kickstart
If you are a small business who will be taking on fewer than 30 young people, you will be able to apply through an intermediary. Local authorities, charities and chambers of commerce have now put themselves forward to act as intermediaries.