What is the Kickstart scheme and how does it benefit Small Businesses?
As the UK begins to recover from the pandemic, a large focus has been placed on ensuring that workers get the training and development they need to find lasting full-time employment. This was a central tenet of the Queen’s Speech and the Chancellor in his Budget introduced the Kickstart scheme in a bid to help young people find employment.
It has been widely reported that young workers have been the most severely hit economically by the pandemic- according to the ONS under 35s accounted for over 80% of all unemployment since the start of the pandemic. Indeed, youth unemployment is at its highest level in over five years as businesses concentrate on protecting their current employees rather than taking on new younger workers.
The Kickstart scheme provides funding for businesses in order to encourage them to create jobs for 16-24-year olds who are at risk of long-term unemployment. The funding will cover 100% of the National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week for a total of 6 months, and any business can apply. The scheme is open for applications until December 31st 2021.
Plenty of businesses have already taken up this scheme and have already had success such as M&S and Capita. However, as the Kickstart scheme will only be running until the end of the year, there have been calls from organisations like the Resolution Foundation to extend it.
Having a young person join a business not only benefits them, it also has wide reaching positive implications for the business too. Many businesses report that having a new and different perspective can help them innovate allowing them to reach new customers or access to new revenue streams. Taking on a young person is also a way for many to protect the longevity of their business, ensuring the business’ future is secured.
For those businesses keen to support young workers and reap the benefits of having youthful expertise, apprenticeships have, so far, been the most common route to take. Apprenticeships, alongside offering the aforementioned benefits to businesses, can help young people learn the skills they need to excel in their chosen career path.
The UK government remains keen to encourage businesses to take on apprenticeships too. Indeed, from June, businesses can claim £3000 for each new apprentice hired as a new employee between April and September. This is part of the government’s Plan for Jobs and their drive to build back better.
Of course, young people are not the only generation affected by the impact of the pandemic, ONS figures also show that older workers have been severely impacted and therefore its necessary that the government also looks at ways to help older workers re-enter the workforce. To hear more about the challenge for older workers click here.