What is Kickstart?

The Kickstart Scheme makes up part of the Government’s ‘Plan for Jobs’ skills and employment programmes, which also include Apprenticeships, T Levels and Traineeships.

The Kickstart Scheme offers six-month jobs for young people aged 16 to 24 years old who are currently claiming Universal Credit and are at risk of long-term unemployment. Not only will you have a young person working for you, funded by the Government, you will also be supporting them to develop transferable skills that are aimed at increasing their chances of sustained employment.

Thousands of employers like you, across the private, public and not-for-profit sectors, have already applied for funding, which covers:


What are the potential benefits to your business?

By hiring a young person through the Kickstart Scheme, you will have someone working for you for six-months who could bring with them fresh ideas and energy that can help your business flourish.

You will be giving someone who is unemployed a potentially life-changing opportunity to start a new career in your industry and be playing your part in the post-pandemic economic recovery.

Read our new Guide to Employers prospectus to find out more about how the scheme could benefit your business, what the process is like and what people involved in Kickstart think of the scheme.

"We employed our first cohort of seven Kickstart participants in April and they have proved to be a real asset in a very short space of time.  Our aim is to offer a total of 20 Kickstart opportunities by the end of the year. The potential for growth is a very exciting prospect for both the young people and the Club as a whole."

Adam Davy, Community Director Walsall FC

What you need to know about applying

There is no minimum on the number of vacancies you can apply for which means businesses of all sizes can benefit from the scheme.

You can apply for a Kickstart Scheme grant by either:

If you need more help with applying you can contact our employer team.

Don’t delay and apply right away. By applying as soon as possible, you will be giving yourself the best opportunity for young people to start in your roles.

Once your Kickstart vacancies have been approved, support to fill your vacancies will be available from your local Jobcentre Plus, and approved Kickstart vacancies will be added to DWP’s Find a Job page on your behalf. This helps young people to search for Kickstart vacancies directly and helps you to fill your roles with the right candidates.

You can advertise vacancies yourself, but all jobs must be referred through a DWP work coach to receive full funding.

Additionally, the Department for Work and Pensions is running a series of webinars to introduce employers to the benefits of the Kickstart Scheme. Following an overview of the scheme, there will be an opportunity to ask questions. Webinars will be held on Microsoft Teams. If you wish to attend, register for free on eventbrite.

What other support is available through Plan for Jobs?

A range of government programmes, some of which offer financial incentives, are available for employers who are considering hiring employees, offering work experience or upskilling existing staff.


Apprenticeships are jobs which combine practical on-the-job skills training with sustained off-the-job learning, available from entry level to master’s degree-equivalent. Your employee will get training in the knowledge, skills and behaviours that are relevant to their job and you will need to pay them a salary.

Apprentices spend 80% of their time in the workplace and at least 20% undertaking off-the-job training in a setting that suits the needs of your business – this could be a college, a training provider or at an Institute of Technology (IoT). Training can also be delivered in your place of business.

T Levels

T Levels are a new, 2-year qualification for 16 to 19 year olds. Designed with employers, each T Level is equivalent to 3 A levels and helps young people develop the knowledge, attitude and practical skills to thrive in the workplace.

At the heart of each course is a 45-day industry placement, that will give you early access to the brightest talent entering your market.


A traineeship is a skills development programme that includes a work placement. The full programme can last from 6 weeks up to 1 year, though most traineeships last for less than 6 months.

Your business needs to be able to offer at least 70 hours of a safe, meaningful, and high-quality work experience.

The trainee will gain English, maths, digital and work-related qualifications which can lead them on to an apprenticeship, work, further education or a Kickstart placement.

More sources of help and support for employers

Jobcentre Plus can help you fill your vacancies more efficiently through sector-based work academies. Find out more about the sector-based work academy programme.

You can advertise and manage your vacancies on Find a Job. Find out more about the Find a Job service.

For help with recruiting and retaining disabled people visit our Disability Confident site. An Access to Work grant can pay for practical support to help your employees stay in work if they have a disability. Visit our Access to Work pages to find out more.