Youth employment non-profit organisation, Generation UK, today announces it will act as a gateway to the government’s £2bn Kickstart programme – allowing small and medium-sized employers offering less than 30 vacancies access to the scheme.

Under the Kickstart Scheme, the UK Government pays 100% of the age-relevant National Minimum Wage, National Insurance and pension contributions for up to 25 hours a week for job placements provided through the scheme. Introduced as part of the Government’s Plan for Jobs by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, it is hoped the scheme will provide opportunities for hundreds of thousands of 16 to 24-year olds currently claiming Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment. 

Now approved as a Gateway for the Kickstart Scheme, Generation UK will start to connect young people looking for work with placement opportunities submitted by Generation’s employer partners. These employer partners are typically businesses offering less than 30 work placements, and so must work with a Gateway such as Generation to access the scheme. To date, Generation has agreed to support over 60 employers, who between them can offer over 700 work placement opportunities. 5-10 new employers continue to approach Generation each week and will be added to the roster. 

Amidst rising youth unemployment in Britain, Generation UK plans to support thousands of young people through these six-month work-placements, whilst equally helping businesses across the UK to access the scheme. Generation UK’s support of Kickstart is powered by a number of service offerings that are already well- established, including deep experience in ‘match-making’ to connect talented young adults with employment opportunities, and working with employers on their business needs. 

Generation UK will leverage its existing provisions for young adults to provide further employability support. This will be delivered via an online tool, the Generation Academy, in parallel to the six-month work placement and in line with the requirements of Kickstart – with a goal of maximising long-term employment outcomes even after the 6-month placements. This Generation Academy programme includes interview training, CV review and feedback, career advice, and basic skills improvement to help develop their long-term employment prospects. Generation are also exploring opportunities to provide additional job-specific training for groups of participants working in similar roles.

Michael Houlihan, CEO of Generation UK, said: “The disruption we’ve experienced over 2020 has had a massive impact on the employment outlook for many, but particularly for 18 to 24-year olds. The statistics show unemployment rates in that cohort dangerously soring, and history has shown that high rates of youth unemployment have a lasting and damaging impact unless action is taken. Rising numbers threaten to have a stifling impact on both our economic recovery and the future prospects of the UK’s young people.

“The government has acted decisively to introduce new schemes that unlock work-placements for young people and we at Generation have been delighted by the response from employers. We are excited by the opportunity to apply our services and expertise in youth unemployment to support this scheme both on behalf of young people and for smaller employers across the country.

“Generation UK exists to help young people access employment opportunities and build meaningful careers, now in these unique times we are able to work with the government to increase the Kickstart Scheme’s accessibility and leverage our own capabilities to help these young people covert these placements into long-term jobs.”

Mims Davies MP, Minister for Employment, said: “It is great to see Generation UK join our national effort by supporting over 60 employers and 700 young people to take part in our Kickstart Scheme.

“As part of our Plan for Jobs, Kickstart is giving our next generation of workers a vital chance to get on the jobs ladder, and Generation UK’s offer to nurture and support young people means they will develop lasting skills as we build back better.”

By Lisa Baker, Senior Editor

Senior Editor Lisa Baker is the owner of Need to See it Publishing Group, providing contract news for business and news sites across the UK. Lisa is an experienced HR writer and commentator, editing HR publications for more than 5 years.