Employer funding. Act now

If you’re an employer, you can still tap into Covid-19 youth job creation funding.

In Northern Ireland, that’s the JobStart scheme. In England, Scotland and Wales, it’s Kickstart. The schemes are broadly similar.

The Kickstart scheme has just been extended to March 2022, and is open to applications from employers and Kickstart Gateways until 17 December 2021.

Government funding is available to cover minimum wage at the appropriate level for 25 hours a week in full. It also provides the cost of employer National Insurance Contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment pension contributions. There is also £1,500 funding per job for set up costs and skills development support. To use the schemes, employers apply directly online. Kickstart applicants can also apply through Kickstart Gateways, intermediary organisations which may offer more support to smaller employers. In mainland Britain, successful applications are sent to Jobcentre Plus work coaches, who select a pool of candidates for you to interview and appoint from. You can advertise vacancies yourself, but all jobs must receive an introduction through a DWP work coach to receive full funding. In Northern Ireland, job referrals must be made by the Department for Communities.

Your part of the equation as employer? Creating a quality six-month placement (or multiple placements) for a candidate (or candidates) aged between 16 and 24 otherwise facing long-term unemployment. In Northern Ireland, placements can run for nine months in some circumstances.

You must be able to show how you’ll support your new staff grow their employability skills while they’re with you. And any job must be an additional new post, created specially for the scheme, that doesn’t involve your existing workforce losing out. It shouldn’t, for example, replace existing or planned vacancies, or cause your existing employees, apprentices or contractors to lose work or reduce their working hours.

Processing applications can take about a month, so to access funding, act now. We should be delighted to advise further.

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