The government Kickstart Scheme is a new initiative designed to create hundreds of thousands of six-month work placements aimed at those aged 16 to 24 who are receiving the benefit and are deemed to be at risk of long-term unemployment.

So if you’re aged 16-24 and currently claiming Universal Credit, you could be eligible for the scheme.

Initially, an employer must create the placements and then apply for funding (either directly with the DWP or via a DWP approved Kickstart Gateway such as ourselves).

You are then matched with the placements via your job centre Work Coach. The Work Coach will help identify vacancies that are suitable for you and then put you forward to the relevant employer to go through their normal interview process.

If you’re successful, you will join your new employer for at least 6 months, after which point the employer may choose to keep you on at their own cost or support you with finding alternative work.  

Throughout the 6 month placement, the employer will commit to delivering an Employability Training Programme. This programme provides you with training on areas such as CV writing, interview techniques, and job searching skills.

As well as the six month work experience, the training provided also means you will be in a really strong and confident place to find another job at the end of the six month placement if your existing employer doesn’t have a permanent role for you.

The DWP confirmed that all Kickstart Scheme applicants will continue to receive their Universal Credit.

However, when you start a Kickstart placement, the amount of Universal Credit you get will gradually reduce as you earn more. The amount of Universal Credit you will receive is based on your actual earnings.

Every Kickstart placement must pay the national minimum wage for at least 25 hours a week – although individual employers can increase the pay and number of hours if they wish (and many do).

For every £1 you earn (after tax and any deductions), your Universal Credit payment reduces by 63p. If you have responsibility for a child or have a disability or health condition that affects your ability to work, you can keep more of your Universal Credit.

Universal Credit is designed to top up pay, so you are better off in work.

The DWP has highlighted that you can only be enrolled on the Kickstart scheme by your job centre Work Coach. So speak to your Work Coach to see if they will consider nominating you for available places and ask them to search for vacancies that would be a suitable match for you.

Yes, they are advertised on our current vacancies page on our website. However, please be aware that you will still need to be referred by your Work Coach before you can apply for a vacancy.

As soon as you apply to a vacancy with one of our employers, we will send you login details for our fantastic Exemplia Training Portal which offers training videos, tools and support with the whole application process.

Your employer will give you a standard employment contract and your rights to holiday, sick pay etc… will be the same as any employee working for that employer. The only difference is that it will be for a six month fixed term contract which means it will automatically end at the end of the Kickstart placement.

Your employer will have several options which they will discuss with you including:

  • They could offer you a permanent job in their business
  • They could offer you an apprenticeship or traineeship
  • They could support you with finding new employment

A Kickstart placement is a fantastic opportunity to gain work experience and training to build your confidence and your future employment prospects. If you are unhappy in your role, we would encourage you to speak with your employer and Work Coach to try and resolve the situation.

We’ve recruited a number of Kickstart placements for both ourselves and our clients. Below are a couple of testimonials from them about the scheme.

“The Kickstart Scheme has provided me with a real sense of independence and worth, making a really positive impact on my mental health. It’s also provided me with the opportunity to engage and interact with lots of great people. Plus there’s an excellent training programme which will equip me with the soft skills required for future employment opportunities.” Callum, Recruitment Administrator.

“I’m really excited by this Kickstart Scheme opportunity and the benefits it will bring me in the long term. The soft skills I am learning every week, coupled with great hands-on practical experience, are going to be brilliant my future employment prospects.”  Louise, Recruitment Administrator.

Read more testimonials