The Kickstart Scheme

Supporting UK companies in recruitment, training and support to provide high quality 6-month job placements for young people.

The Kickstart Scheme is a government funded scheme designed to create new jobs for 16-24 year olds who are on Universal Credit, and who are at risk of long term unemployment.

The funding covers 100% of the National Minimum Wage, or the National Living Wage if the employee is over 23 years of age, for 25 hours a week for 6 months. It will also cover associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment pension contributions. Employers will also receive £1,500 funding per job, to be spent on set up costs and employability training and support to help the young person in their future career.

As a government approved National Kickstart Gateway and training provider, TRAC can both help you to apply and also help you to provide the mandatory employability skills training to your Kickstart employee.

What kind of job roles are suitable for the Kickstart Scheme?

In order to be considered eligible for the Kickstart Scheme, the job role being created must meet a number of criteria. Job roles must NOT be intended to replace existing or planned vacancies, nor should it cause existing employees, apprentices or contractors to lose work or reduce their working hours.

The job roles must also:

  • Be a minimum of 25 hours of work a week for 6 months. You may pay for more hours, but this will not be covered by funding.

  • Pay at least the National Minimum Wage, or the National Living Wage, according to the age group of each employee. To find out more about the current rates for National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage, click here. You may pay your employee a higher wage, but this will not be covered by additional funding.

Job roles should also never require more than basic training – remember that these jobs are for young people, so expecting extensive experience and qualification is unreasonable, and unsuitable for the Kickstart Scheme.  

For each job role, you will also be expected to provide support and training in order to help the young person to find work beyond their placement and become more employable. This can include career advice, goal-setting, support with applications and interviews, and developing transferable skills in the workplace.

What do I need in order to apply?

In order to apply for the Kickstart Scheme as an employer, you must provide certain information about your company.

Your company must be registered with Companies House, since you will have to provide your Company House reference number in your application. Alternatively, charities will need to provide a Charity Commission Number or an Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator number. You must also provide your organisation address and contact details, as well as the details of the intended job roles and their locations.

You will also need to provide information about your current workforce, and provide information on any important changes, recruitments, redundancies and reduced hours in your work place in the last 6 months. This is to assess whether or not your proposed job roles are new and created just for the scheme.

You will also need to provide information on how you intend to support the young person to become more employable. If you have applied through TRAC, as your Kickstart gateway we can provide some of this training for you.

You must also agree to pay your employees using Pay As You Earn (PAYE), since this is how the DWP will check that you have correctly paid your employee before sending funding.

If your application is successful, you will be required to give full job descriptions for each role you have applied for. For instance, if you have applied for three Admin Assistants and one Marketing Assistant, you will need to complete the job description for each of the two roles, but not for each individual placement.

Your local job centre will then use these job descriptions to match candidates to your job roles. You or your Kickstart Gateway will receive a notification whenever a potential candidate is referred to your job role. These referred candidates may then choose to apply for the job, and you’ll then be able to begin the process of selecting the right candidate. You may do this however you like.

What is a Kickstart Gateway?

A Kickstart gateway is an organisation that helps employers to apply for Kickstart Scheme funding. As a government approved National Kickstart Gateway and training provider, The Real Apprenticeship Company can both help you to apply and also help you to provide the mandatory employability skills training to your Kickstart employee.

If you choose to apply for Kickstart Scheme funding through TRAC, we will gather the relevant information from you and make the application to the DWP on your behalf using our established contacts in the DWP.

We have a number of training packages that you can sign up to as a part of your application, to help you and your organisation meet the training requirements for your Kickstart employees.

To get a better idea of the process of applying for The Kickstart Scheme through TRAC, have a look at the infographic below, or download it as a pdf here.

More information

If you still want information on the Kickstart Scheme, have a look at our FAQ section here. There is also lots of information on Alternatively, feel free to contact us directly at for more information. 

How will young people apply for the job roles?