Businesses across the Solent urged to get Kickstart ready

The Kickstart scheme, announced in the Chancellor’s summer statement, will offer much-needed financial incentives to businesses that offer employment to 16 to 24 year olds, who are currently receiving Universal Credit. The government’s initiative aims to not only support fully funded jobs across England, Scotland and Wales but will also improve the skills, employability and resilience of young people.

The Solent Apprenticeship Hub is actively engaging with businesses to gauge demand for Kickstart and develop routes for young people to progress from these placements into longer term opportunities such as an apprenticeship, or full-time employment. The Hub is hosting a Kickstart webinar for businesses to find out more on Wednesday 20 October 2020, sign up on Eventbrite.

The Kickstart Scheme will provide funding to employers to create new 6-month job placements for young people who are currently on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment. Funding will cover for each job placement:

  • 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week
  • the associated employer National Insurance contributions
  • employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions
  • £1,500 per placement to contribute towards setup costs, support and training

Employers can then pay the difference in wages for any additional weekly hours worked, or should they wish to pay more than the minimum wage.

The Solent Apprenticeship Hub, who are spearheading efforts to increase apprenticeship activity from employers and improve the skills base of the workforce across the region, see the potential that the Kickstart scheme offers to both young people and employers of all sizes. Building a world class local talent pool is key to boosting the success of the business community as the economy recovers from COVID-19.

The Hub’s Transfer to Transform apprenticeship levy fund transfer campaign, alongside campaigns such as Kickstart and the range of incentives announced by the government, including the Plan for Jobs and Winter Economy Plan, will be instrumental when it comes to minimizing the longer term impacts on the regional economy of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jodi Fair, Solent Apprenticeship Hub Manager, said: “At a time when there is increased volatility in the economy, businesses have a crucial role to play in supporting our future workforce; whether through skills development, encouraging active citizenship or improving pathways to good quality jobs.

“The kickstart scheme will offer exceptional financial rewards to businesses that offer these placements as the government are paying the wages, up to 25 hours a week, of any young person who is employed through this scheme.”

Cabinet Member for Children and Learning, Councillor Dr Darren Paffey, said: “Given the exceptional impact that COVID-19 is having on youth employment, now is the time for businesses to engage and lead from the front with Kickstart, to create new long term foundations for both themselves and our local young workforce.

“We’re encouraging as many businesses as possible in the region to ready themselves for Kickstart as we all look to tackle the national challenge of rising youth unemployment. Southampton City Council will be offering at least 30 of these placements, offering huge benefits to both the council and the young people who will benefit from securing the employment and gaining invaluable experience.”