UK government launches subsidised young people's work scheme

The Kickstart scheme allows UK employers to take on unemployed young people for six-month government-subsidised work placements.

The UK government’s plan to revive the country’s economy, which Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak set out in July, took a further step on Wednesday with the launch of the Kickstart scheme of subsidised six-month placements for unemployed young people aged 16–24.

Under the scheme, the UK government will fund each placement, paying 100% of the age-relevant National Minimum Wage, National Insurance, and pension contributions for 25 hours a week, HM Treasury said.

Employers can top up this wage, and will receive £1,500 to set up and provide training for those on the scheme, which will be delivered by the Department for Work and Pensions. It will initially be open until December 2021, with an option to extend it.

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Thérèse Coffey, Ph.D., said in a press statement that 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”.

She added that there was no limit on the number of placements under the scheme.

Companies taking part in Kickstart, according to the BBC, include retailer Tesco and Network Rail, which operates Britain’s railway infrastructure.

As part of government help for smaller businesses, employers offering fewer than 30 placements will be asked to make a bid through an intermediary, such as a local government authority or chamber of commerce. These bodies will then create an aggregated bid for 30 or more placements from several businesses.

A Department for Work and Pensions video and guidance for employers provide information on the scheme.

Oliver Rowe ( is an FM magazine senior editor.