Young people on Universal Credit can now get jobs thanks to Kickstart

The Government has launched its £2 billion Kickstart aimed at helping young people into work as the labour market remains strangled by the coronavirus pandemic.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the programme, which will create thousands of new roles nationwide, will help youngsters aged between 16-24 who could be “left behind” following the crisis.

Under the scheme, employers will be able to offer young people on Universal Credit state-subsidised work placements for six months.

As of July there were almost 538,000 young people aged 24 and under on Universal Credit, a rise of around 250,000 from March.

Businesses are able sign up to use the scheme from Wednesday, with the state also paying employers £1500 to set up support and training for people on a Kickstart placement.

Chancellor Rishi 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.”

The Government will pay 100% of the National Minimum Wage dependent on age, National Insurance and pension contributions for 25 hours a week for those on the scheme.

Major employers including Tesco have signed up to offer jobs through the scheme, it said.

The scheme, which will be delivered by the Department for Work and Pensions, will initially be open until December 2021.

Therese Coffey, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, said: “As we launch our £2 billion Kickstart programme, putting young people at the heart of our revival – we are urging businesses to get involved in this innovative scheme and take advantage of the enormous pool of potential out there.

“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.”

Labour responded to the Kickstart launch by saying the programme appears to lack coordination across various sectors.

“Labour has repeatedly called for a youth employment scheme that matches the scale of today’s jobs crisis, just as the Future Jobs Fund did at the time of the global financial crash,” shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds said in a statement.

“The Labour Government in Wales has done just that with its Jobs Growth Wales scheme: bringing local authorities, employers, trade unions and other stakeholders together to help young people into work without impacting older workers.

“But the Conservative government’s Kickstart scheme, which has been delayed, already looks like it lacks that cross-organisational coordination. It will only work if employers and jobseekers have clarity and confidence that the scheme will lead to meaningful work. The Government can’t afford to get this wrong.”

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