Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced plans to launch a 'Kickstart Scheme' aimed at preventing long-term youth unemployment in the aftermath of coronavirus.
The scheme is a £2 billion fund allocated to creating 6-month work placements for young people between the ages of 16 and 24, who are on Universal Credit and are deemed likely to remain unemployed in the long-term.
Employers across the UK can participate in the scheme by generating new jobs for young people that would otherwise have not been made available in the current, post-pandemic circumstances. For each new “kickstarter” job role, employers will receive funding from the government to cover 100% of the wages, and all associated overheads, for 6 months.
The placements will be paid at National Minimum Wage, for 25 hours of work a week, although employers can choose to top-up salaries if they want to.
The National Minimum Wage currently looks like this:
£4.55 - Under 18s
£6.45 - 18 to 20-year-olds
£8.20 - 21 to 24-year-olds
With no cap on the number of placements that can be created under the scheme, it is the government’s intention that hundreds of thousands of new job opportunities will open up to under 25s, who Mr Sunak warns are a generation at risk of being “left behind”.
The ‘Kickstart Scheme’ is just one of several new policies designed to protect and nurture the job prospects of as many young people as possible, in spite of the damage wreaked by COVID-19 to the economy.
Alongside the ‘Kickstart Scheme’ there’s going to be an additional £111 million this year for traineeships in England, which is hoped will triple participation in traineeship opportunities and encourage 16 to 24-year-olds to continue to upskill.
Plus, the government has also announced it is going to begin offering £2,000 bonuses to employers in England every time they hire an apprentice aged under 25. Employers will be able to take advantage of this from 1st August 2020 until 31st January 2021, perfectly timed for new generations of young people leaving various stages of education and entering working world.
With 90% of final year university students this year saying they fear there will be fewer job opportunities for them because of coronavirus, and employers needing to reduce their recruitment budgets due to uncertainty for the future, it’s great to see the government taking clear steps to mitigate the impact on employment for under 25s.
Here at GradTouch, we’ll be keeping a lookout for the new “kickstarter” placements over the next few months, and we’ll be sure to notify those of you in our community of any opportunities that match your career preferences.
If you haven’t already, you can create a free GradTouch account here.