UK Government £2Billion Kickstart Scheme

The Kickstart Scheme is a £2 billion Government initiative to create hundreds of thousands of quality 6-month work placements, aimed at 16 to 24 year olds who are on Universal Credit and deemed to be at risk of long-term unemployment.

Employers across England, Scotland and Wales can offer 6-month work placements to these young aspiring professionals.

The Government will fund each participating employee for 25 hours per week, paying the National Minimum Wage and covering National Insurance and Pension Contributions. The employer also receives the full £1,500 grant to cover set up, equipment and training costs.

The purpose of the scheme is to support young people to develop new skills and to help them move into sustained employment after they have completed their Kickstart funded job. Through the scheme, employers will be able to access a pool of young people with potential, ready for an opportunity.

Who can Apply for Funding?

Any organisation, regardless of size, can apply for funding. The job placements created with Kickstart funding must be new jobs and must not replace existing or planned vacancies, nor cause existing employees to lose or reduce their employment.

The roles you are applying for must be:

  • A minimum of 25 hours per week, for 6 months.
  • Paid at least the National Minimum Wage for their age.
  • Not require people to undertake extensive training before they begin their placement.

Before reaching out, you should understand how you as an employer will help the participants to develop their skills and experience, including:

  • Support to look for long-term work.
  • Support with CV and interview preparations.
  • Supporting with basic skills, such as attendance, timekeeping and teamwork.

What is Shadow Foundr’s Involvement?

Shadow Foundr is registered with the UK Government as a Gateway Organisation to support small and medium sized enterprises.

Why use a Gateway?

While you can apply directly to the Government on their website, applying through Shadow Foundr has benefits:

  • You’ll be dealing with a private company.
  • Shadow Foundr’s Gateway has a 100% track record of companies being approved.
  • For direct applications on the Government Website, the questions don’t trigger any guidance as to whether you will be successful in your application or not. Through the Shadow Foundr Gateway you’ll sit more comfortably in the 4 weeks waiting for your approval due to our guidance and understanding of scheme.
  • There is no difference to the amount of funds that hit your account. You still retain the entire £1,500 grant for support and training.
  • Using Shadow Foundr as a Gateway indirectly supports small businesses through these turbulent times.

When did the scheme start?

The Scheme launched in November 2020, so we are now actively seeking compelling companies.

How do I apply?

Drop us an email at and we’ll be in touch with the next steps.

Additional Information

Kickstart FAQ’s below.

See more on the kickstart scheme on – click here

Kickstart FAQ’s

Shadow Foundr will act as a Gateway Organisation and will assist compelling UK start-up’s in any industry apply for the Kickstart Scheme.

What is the Kickstart Scheme?

£2 billion Government initiative for temporary job creation aimed at 16-24 year olds currently claiming Universal Credit. Employers across England, Scotland and Wales will be able to offer 6-month work placements to these young aspiring professionals.

When is this happening?

The scheme launched in November 2020. The scheme will run until December 2021, however it may be extended depending on the needs of the economy.

What funding will my start-up receive?

The Government will fund each participating employee for 25 hours per week, paying the National Minimum Wage and cover National Insurance and Pension Contributions.

The employer will receive the full £1,500 grant to cover set up, equipment and training costs. Employers will have the option to voluntarily ‘top up’ participating employee’s wages and hours if they desire, however, the employer cannot claim the funds to cover this.

Funding is available following a successful application process.

What are the benefits to my company?

Companies are provided junior staff who will ‘add value’ to an existing company’s operations with no direct cost to them. For each participating employee, the scheme runs for a full 6-months with an option to be offered a role within the company afterwards. If the participating employee is not suitable to the company for whatever reason, the employer has no obligation to take on the participating employee after the 6-month placement.

What is required of my company?

  • Provide a job that will last a minimum of 6-months.
  • The job must be new and the company must prove the role is ‘additional’ rather than replace existing or planned vacancies and/or cause existing roles to cease or reduce employment.
  • During the 6-months, the employer must provide training and job search support for the participating employee.
  • The job should not require the participating employee to have training before their first day working for the company.

What is a Gateway Organisation and why is one needed?

A Gateway Organisation facilitates the coming together of companies who are looking to create new jobs for young workers. The Gateway applies on the company’s behalf. The Gateway Organisation takes on all payments and passes these onto the companies.

Why is Shadow Foundr a Gateway Organisation?

The initiative will expand Shadow Foundr’s existing network and help strengthen relationships with participating companies for the duration of the scheme and beyond.

Does this cost me anything?

No, there is no direct cost to any companies participating in the scheme. It is a grant provided by the UK Government in an effort to grow the economy and provide opportunities to young workers.

Can I choose who I employ?

Companies will write their own job descriptions, interview and select candidates based on the needs for the new role. A DWP work coach will distribute the job advertisement to those candidates on Universal Credit that are most suitable for the role.

How does the process work with Shadow Foundr?

  1. The company discusses the potential job/s with Shadow Foundr.
  2. The company submits Shadow Foundr’s unique application form to
  3. Every week Shadow Foundr submits the application on behalf of the company.
  4. Once the company and role have been vetted and approved by the Government (usually 4-weeks), the company will receive an Employer Agreement and provide Shadow Foundr with their bank details.
  5. Shadow Foundr submits the application to the Government upon receiving the signed Employer Agreement and bank details.
  6. In 2-weeks, the company’s job description/s go ‘live’ on the Job Centre Portal and the job is distributed by a ‘work coach’ to suitable candidates.
  7. Interested candidates send their CV’s to suitable companies. The company conducts their own interview process and selects the most appropriate candidate/s.
  8. The company distributes a 6-month fixed term to the selected candidate (note: there is no Kickstart Agreement).
  9. Once the Kickstart employee is on the payroll under PAYE, Shadow Foundr will distribute the initial set-up costs and monthly payments.
  10. The Government performs checks during the 6-month placement to ensure the company is employing the Kickstart employee in the spirit of the scheme.

What exactly do I need to do to apply?

Shadow Foundr requires the following information to consider making the claim on your behalf:

We need to know that the job placements are new jobs and do not replace existing or planned vacancies and/or cause existing employees, apprentices or contractors to lose or reduce their employment. Please reach out to us so we may discuss the following:

  • Changes to your workforce in the last 6-months and why (for example redundancies and changes to hours worked by existing staff).
  • The number of people affected by changes to your workforce in the last 6-months as well as the size of your overall workforce.
  • About the kinds of roles, functions and average salary of those who were made redundant or who had their hours reduced in the last 6-months.
  • If you would be able to create these job placements without Kickstart Scheme funding and what funding source you would use.
  • What recruitment you have completed, started or paused in the last 6-months, including how similar these vacancies are or were to the roles you are creating for the Kickstart Scheme.
  • If the job placements will be similar to existing or planned roles or the roles previously done by those made redundant or with fewer working hours, why you are using Kickstart Scheme funding to create similar roles.
  • If you’ve engaged with any relevant trade unions and any advice they have given.

We need to know how you or the organisation you are representing will help the participants to develop their skills and experience. You can do this by telling us:

  • What support will be offered (for example helping them with writing their CV and preparing for an interview).
  • When you will provide this support (for example half way through their placement or towards the end).
  • How many hours it will take.
  • Who will provide the support (for example you may already have a pre-existing relationship with training providers).
  • How you will monitor the support given to the participant to ensure they will be more employable at the end of their job placement.
  • How the participant can provide feedback during their placement and afterwards, and how this will be acted on if needed.

How do I apply?

Drop us an email at and we’ll be in touch with the next steps.

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