What is the Kickstart job scheme and how can I apply?

A £2 billion Government initiative designed to help young people into work has launched.

The Kickstart scheme fully subsidised jobs for young people across the country.

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But how will the six-month wage scheme work? We explain all we know so far.

What is the Kickstart jobs scheme and how will it work?

Under the £2billion Kickstart Scheme, the government will pay towards six months of wage costs of 16 to 24-year-olds who are claiming Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment who are hired by employers.

It will cover 100 per cent of the minimum wage, national insurance and pension contributions for a maximum of 25 hours a week — with firms able to top up wages.

For example, young people between 21 and 24 years old on minimum wage currently earn £8.20 an hour, working out as £205 for 25 hours.

Businesses can get up to £1,500 from the state to help set up support and training.

The scheme is designed to help build young people's skills and confidence and is meant to act as a stepping stone to further employment.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak  announced the scheme in his mini-Budget in the summer as part of efforts to help Britain bounce back from the coronavirus crisis.

He said it was an "opportunity to kickstart the careers of thousands of young people who could otherwise be left behind as a result of the pandemic".

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has put tackling youth unemployment at the top of the government’s recovery plan.

It follows dire forecasts from experts predicting more than a million youngsters will be out of work this year.

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How can I apply?

The scheme officially launched on September 2.

At the moment employers are being asked to visit the government website to register their interest.

Businesses interested in offering fewer than 30 Kickstart roles should apply through a representative organisation, the Treasury said.

The government aims to have the first placements on offer from November.

It's expected that Kickstart job roles will advertise for applications then.

Jobcentre staff will refer people to the scheme who fit the criteria and who they think may benefit.

Jobcentre work coaches will support candidates throughout the process.

Kickstart will run until at least December 2021 and covers the whole of the UK.

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."

How much is it costing?

Kickstart is costing the state an average of £6,500 for each job.

The government estimates it could generate 250,000 placements at a cost to the tax payer of £2bn.

But Mr Sunak hopes it will trigger a mass hiring spree by firms.

One big firm to have already signed up to the scheme is Tesco.

The retailer has publicly announced its plans to offer 1,000 placements.

Network Rail have also said they will take part.

The Resolution Foundation has forecast the scheme will help find jobs for around 350,000 youngsters in that age group.

The scheme comes as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has warned that the unemployment rate could reach 15 per cent if a second virus wave hits.

Roughly 9.3million workers in the UK have been furloughed due to the pandemic.

And experts have warned redundancies could be on the cards as employers have to start contributing towards the scheme from August.

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