The government recently launched its Kickstart scheme to create high-quality training placements for unemployed people between the ages of 16 and 24. Our training and education manager, Kathy Romback, explains more about this landmark initiative.
“The first and most important thing is that ALFED is here and ready to take all the stress and strain out of Kickstart for the benefit of its members and their trainees,” she says.
“Like any government-led programme, it involves a fair amount of form-filling, but we’ll make the process of identifying, interviewing and recruiting the right talent as painless as possible.
“Each job placement must last six months, which will be fully funded by the government to cover the relevant national minimum wage for 25 hours a week, plus the associated National Insurance contributions, and the employer minimum contributions for automatic enrolment.”
However, Kathy stresses that the government has imposed restrictions on employers who participate in the scheme to ensure all parties benefit.
“These placements must be new roles. Trainees can not be taken on to replace existing or planned vacancies, and their recruitment must not cause existing employees or contractors to lose their job, or to have their hours of employment reduced.
“Companies also have to explain how they will help their trainee(s) develop skills and workplace experience, support them in their search for long-term work, assist them with creating a CV and prepare them for interviews.
“When the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, announced Kickstart, he was very clear that it was a partnership between the government and individual companies to provide training opportunities to young people and offer them hope of a brighter future.
“The government will also pay £1,500 to companies for each placement; to cover the scheme’s administration and set-up costs and the use of company resources on the trainee, right down to the expense of their work-clothes and other equipment.”
Inevitably, the scheme is targeted at major companies and all individual employers must be able to offer at least 30 placements.
However, the rules allow so-called ‘gateway’ organisations to bundle up applications from multiple small employers until that threshold is crossed, and to then present them for processing.
“The overwhelming majority of our members are SMEs, who might only have one placement to offer, but ALFED has been accepted as an official gateway to Kickstart,” says Kathy.
“The first step is for member companies to study the government site which explains how Kickstart works, so they can prepare a detailed application: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/kickstart-scheme
”Anyone looking to enter Kickstart can then contact me for details, on 07899-924315 or via firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be pleased to guide them – and hopefully to progress their application.
“As each one is accepted, a specialist adviser at the relevant Job Centre will identify potential candidates and invite the employer in to interview the individual and select the right person for their particular requirements.”