Rishi Sunak has launched a £2 billion Kickstart scheme in a bid to create more jobs for young people and spur Britain’s economic recovery.
Under the scheme, opened today, employers can offer young people aged 16 to 24 who are claiming Universal Credit a six-month government-subsidised work placement.
The Treasury will fully fund each Kickstart job – paying 100% of the age-relevant national minimum wage, national insurance and pension contributions for 25 hours a week.
Mr Sunak said: “This isn’t just about kickstarting our country’s economy – it is an opportunity to kickstart the careers of thousands of young people who could otherwise be left behind as a result of the pandemic.
“The scheme will open the door to a brighter future for a new generation and ensure the UK bounces back stronger as a country.”
Businesses of all sizes can apply and there is no cap on the number of places. Household names including Tesco have already pledged to offer Kickstart jobs.
Young people will be referred into the new roles through Jobcentre Plus, with the first kickstarts expected to begin at the start of November.
The scheme, which will be delivered by the Department for Work and Pensions, will initially be open until December 2021, with the option of being extended.
Work and pensions secretary Therese Coffey said: “We are urging businesses to get involved in this innovative scheme and take advantage of the enormous pool of potential out there.
“There is no limit on the number of opportunities we’ll open up through Kickstart and we’ll fund each one for six months as part of Our Plan for Jobs to create, support and protect jobs.
“Young people taking part will receive on-the-job training, skills development and mentoring, as we get them on that first rung of the jobs ladder and on their way to successful careers.”
To help smaller businesses, employers offering fewer than 30 placements will be asked to make a bid through an intermediary, such as a local authority or chamber of commerce, who will then bid for 30 or more placements as a combined bid from several businesses.
This will make the process easier and less labour intensive to apply for those smaller companies who only want to hire one or two kickstarters.
The Kickstart scheme was announced in July as part of the Chancellor’s multi-billion-pound “plan for jobs”.