This site uses cookies to bring you the best experience. Find out more
Skip to main content

Your Quick Guide to the Kickstart Scheme

The government's highly anticipated Kickstart Scheme is a new £2 billion scheme that has been introduced to create thousands of 6-month job placements for 16 - 24 year olds working a minimum of 25 hours per week.

Aimed at young people who are on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment, the Scheme will help to kickstart both their careers and the economy. The government will fund 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage, NI and pension contributions for each work placement for a minimum of 25 hours a week. £1,500 additional funds are also available per job placement for setup costs, support and training. The Scheme is now open for applications from businesses of all sizes throughout England, Scotland and Wales. The first Kickstarts are expected to begin at the start of November 2020 and the Scheme will run until December 2021, with the possibility of a further extension.

The Scheme initially required applications for a minimum of 30 placements, requiring employers with fewer placements to partner with other organisations or apply through an approved Kickstart Gateway, such as HR:4UK. With effect from Wednesday 3 February 2021, the minimum threshold of 30 jobs has been removed, which effectively allows employers to now apply directly to the Kickstart Scheme.

Let HR:4UK Know if You Want to Use the Kickstart Scheme?

HR:4UK are very keen to give young people a start on the career ladder through the Kickstart Scheme. 

As an approved Kickstart Gateway for the Kickstart Scheme, many businesses and sole traders choose HR:4UK as their Kickstart Gateway as we manage the whole Kickstart application process on their behalf. More importantly, we are a Kickstart Gateway that can provide your business with a training package that fully meets the Scheme’s training requirements. This will ensure your Kickstarts develop the right job skills and experience for finding future employment.where we would be able to make applications on behalf of a larger group. So do please contact us to make your interest known, the number of placements you are considering offering and then we can explore this further for you.

Partner Organisations

Aside from HR:4UK, other organisations that you can apply with are:

  • Similar employers
  • Local authorities
  • Trade bodies
  • Chambers of Commerce and Registered charities

Alternatively you can contact your local or national Kickstart Scheme employer contact for help getting a representative.

How to Apply for the Scheme

To apply for the Scheme, businesses will need to provide:

  • Companies House Reference number, Charity Commission number or Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator number if they have one.

The work placements offered must meet the following criteria:

  • Not require people to undertake extensive training before they begin the job placement.
  • Must be a new job and must not replace existing or planned vacancies or cause employees or contractors to lose or reduce their employment.

To help young people find employment after completing the Scheme the placements must develop their job skills and experience. Therefore employers will need to provide the following information and demonstrate how they will help the young person to achieve these goals:

  • A job description for each work placement including details of what the applicant needs to do to apply for the job placement.
  • Support to look for long-term work, including career advice and setting goals.
  • Support with CV and interview preparations.
  • Supporting the participant with basic skills, such as attendance, timekeeping and teamwork.

Once a job placement is created, it can be taken up by a second person once the first successful applicant has completed their 6-month term. If you are joining HR:4UK's Group Application please click here for a list of the full information required. For more detailed guidance please visit GOV.UK

Candidate Selection

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will deliver the Scheme through local Jobcentres. Candidates will apply for the job placements through their Jobcentre Plus work coach, who will refer them to employers who will be able to choose who to employ. The DWP have warned employers not to advertise the roles and funding will only be released if they appoint a young person introduced via this route.

How Funding is Paid

This is strictly governed by HMRC and DWP. You will only receive initial set up costs when you have confirmed the young person has started work, is enrolled on your payroll and is being paid through PAYE. DWP will use information from HMRC to check that the young person is still employed, and will pay the grant in arrears.

DWP may contact you or the young person during the job placement to check what employability support has been offered. This is to make sure the young person has the best experience from the Scheme.


HR:4UK Group Application

HR:4UK have already made a large number of group applications for Kickstarts. If you would like to apply for the Kickstart Scheme through HR:4UK's Kickstart Gateway, the next step in this process is for your company to complete a Kickstart Scheme application form by visiting our webpage here. This form will require you to provide the information listed below.

Information Required for HR:4UK's Group Application

Company Details

  • Company Name.
  • Companies House reference number or Charity Commission number.
  • Organisation address and contact details.

Number of Kickstarts Required

  • Confirm the number of Kickstart work placements required.

Job Placement Details

  • Provide details of the Kickstart work placements and their location.

We will also need supporting information about how the work placements are new jobs.
For this we will need to know that the work placements are new jobs and do not:

  • Replace existing or planned vacancies.
  • Cause existing employees, apprentices or contractors to lose or reduce their employment.
  • Cause existing employees, apprentices or contractors to lose or reduce their employment.

You can do this by providing the following details:

  • About changes to your workforce in the last 6 months and why? For e.g. redundancies and changes to hours worked by existing staff.
  • The number of people affected by changes to your workforce in the last 6 months as well as the size of your overall workforce.
  • About the kinds of roles, functions and average salary of those who were made redundant or who had their hours reduced in the last 6 months.
  • If you would be able to create these job placements without Kickstart Scheme funding and what funding source you would use.
  • What recruitment you have completed, started or paused in the last 6 months, including how similar these vacancies are or were to the roles you are creating for the Kickstart Scheme.
  • If the job placements will be similar to existing or planned roles or the roles previously done by those made redundant or with fewer working hours, why you are using Kickstart Scheme funding to create similar roles.
  • If you’ve engaged with any relevant trade unions and any advice they have given

Developing Skills and Experience

To help young people find employment after completing the Scheme the placements must develop their job skills and experience. Therefore employers will need to provide the following information and demonstrate how they will help the young person to achieve these goals. You can do this by providing the following details:

  • What support will be offered to the Kickstart. For e.g. helping them with writing their CV and preparing for an interview.
  • When you will provide this support. For e.g. half-way through their work placement or towards the end?
  • How many hours it will take?
  • Who will provide the support? For example you may already have a pre-existing relationship with training providers.
  • How you will monitor the support given to the Kickstart to ensure they will be more employable at the end of their job placement?
  • How the Kickstart can provide feedback during their placement and afterwards, and how this will be acted on if needed.

If you are struggling to meet any of the above criteria, please let us know as this is something that HR:4UK can always help support you with.

Please return your Information to

Further Advice & Guidance

We are here to help offer you advice and guidance on any aspect of the Kickstart Scheme and can be reached on the contact details below.

T: 01455 444 222 | E:

Join HR:4UK's FREE HR & Employment Webinars 

HR:4UK hold FREE HR & Employment webinars with live Q&As. To join our free webinars and to get your questions answered please contact

We look forward to helping your business!