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Signing Up to the Kickstart Scheme

Completing our form

We are asking every potential Kickstart employer to complete our online form to ensure you understand our scheme and so we can ensure you have things in place at your end to support the role(s). You will be asked to confirm that you have understood the eligibility criteria set by the DWP including:

The jobs created with Kickstart Scheme funding must be new jobs. They must not:

  • replace existing or planned vacancies

  • cause existing employees, apprentices or contractors to lose work or reduce their working hours

The jobs must:

For each job you must help the young person become more employable.


We will speak to all applying organisations who submit an application form and seek final confirmation from you before including your placements in our group bid to DWP. At this point, you agree that if the bid is successful you will uphold your intention to provide a Kickstart placement.

How is the application assessed?

DWP performs due diligence checks on all employers and Kickstart gateways using the Cabinet Office Spotlight tool to ensure your organisation is financially viable and able to support the roles proposed.

It has been indicated that this includes having two years of audited accounts and that your organisation is set up with PAYE.

Do employers have to sign an agreement with Change Agents UK?

The DWP provide a standard Employer Agreement for the Gateway and Employer, which we will ask you to review and sign.

See Gov Website for Kickstart Scheme Terms and Conditions


The scheme is currently open until December 2021 - the last placements will commence in December and are to be completed by June 2022. DWP processes can at times be unpredictable in length, so we are strongly advising every potential employer to apply through us as soon as possible.

Payment Schedule – see Finance Section

Role Creation, Applications & Employment

Creating a job description

We will provide guidance on creating a role description utilising our 25 years of experience in selecting, placing and supporting young people and recent graduates on what is often their first role in sustainability. We have also drawn on the research and publications of Youth Employment UK (YEUK), and delivery requirements from the Kickstart programme funders, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Consider the points made in the “Are employers able to state a minimum education or experience level for their placements?” when considering your vision for the role and placement.

Are employers able to state a minimum education or experience level for their placements?

It is up to you, with our support, to craft the best placement template for your role. This means you can be quite specific about the role and the type of person you are looking for, including essential and desirable criteria such as education, experience or skill level etc.


However, the Job Centre coaches will be specifically looking for young people on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment to be put forward and apply for your roles. This therefore means that in some regions, this may not include graduates, depending on their circumstances and history. It is therefore advisable that you consider carefully how specific you need to be about their experience or education level - if aptitude, passion and desire-to-learn are actually more important than a specific qualification or level of education, then it is worth considering framing your placement in this way.

We advise thinking through the lowest level of skill and experience that you are able to accommodate and still get the key aspects of work completed as a good approach. This may involve reconsidering the types of role you put forward in the first instance; you can always create additional responsibilities or increase the complexity of the role depending on who you choose at interview.

How does the recruitment process work?

Once approved as an employer we will provide the DWP placement template for you to complete - the Kickstart version of a job description. We can support you to complete this, and once we have defined the scope and timeline of the role, we submit this back to the DWP.

Once approved the Job Centre(s) local to you will work to refer suitable candidates for your role who will then be encouraged to apply directly to you. This will generate a unique Introduction ID – keep these safe as they prove a candidate’s eligibility for funding.

You set the application and assessment process, specifying in the job description how and where candidates should apply. You will then host your own interviews for the prospective Kickstarters and choose the right person for the role.

Can employers promote roles?

Eligible applicants (16-24 year olds, who are in receipt of Universal Credit) must talk to their work coach if they are interested in a vacancy. Any promotion you undertake must direct them to their work coach this will enable them to gain their DWP Introduction ID need for them to apply and for you to be eligible for the funding.

Talk to your local job centre contact(s) about the promotional opportunities they have available, including Employer Spotlight calls – where you can talk to local work coaches about your opportunity.

I have selected a candidate for my role.

Once you have concluded your recruitment and wish us to notify DWP of the successful young person(s), please email Change Agents UK with the Introduction ID(s), Name(s), Job Title(s) and Proposed start date(s).

You organise Employment Contract / Terms and Conditions with the candidate. CIPD has published a Kickstart Contract Template if you would like to incorporate this into your usual employment processes Kickstart scheme employment contract | CIPD HR-inform

On the proposed start date please email Change Agents UK confirming that the Kickstarter has arrived for their first day.

What happens if we don't find a suitable Kickstarter from the selection process?

We will work hard to ensure you have as much guidance as possible from us and the DWP to create placement templates that will be successful in attracting possible candidates.

You will be able to re-advertise roles through the system if your first round of interviews are inconclusive.

Do Kickstart placements receive holiday and sick pay? 

As the employer, it is up to you to define the terms of employment for your Kickstart placement, subject to the usual minimum legal requirements. The DWP assume that they will be eligible to receive any employment benefits you would usually make available to any contract of similar duration.


Training and Support

At Change Agents UK, we have been providing training and development to young people starting their careers for over 20 years. We are therefore offering every Kickstart placement the opportunity to gain the required training, plus additional mentoring and networking support, through us.

Alongside this we will ask that each employer provides a suitable induction programme, supportive line management and any role-specific training required to ensure that employers and Kickstarters are able to gain the most possible from their time on placement.

For our Tertiary Education Scheme, we have partnered with SOS-UK to provide additional training including an introduction to sustainability in the HE/FE sector, behaviour change, curriculum reform, staff and student engagement​.

For further details of the training and how this is funded please see

Training for Organisations  |  Training for Tertiary Education



What does the funding cover?

Employers of all sizes can apply for funding which covers:

Further funding is available for training and support so that young people on the scheme can get a job in the future. To see how we are providing this for our scheme please see Training & Support.

Are there any additional fees? 

There are no hidden fees payable by you as the employer - the government grant covers the pay for each Kickstart placement for 25 hours a week for 6 months at the National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage (including Employers' NI contributions), our management costs as a Gateway organisation and the costs of the required training which we will be delivered by us. For details of this please see Training & Support.

However, you may want to consider increasing the wage or topping up their hours if that would fit better with the post you would like to create. You should also ensure that you have considered the time impact of recruiting, inducting, and managing your Kickstarter. As the roles will be available to any 16-24 year old on Universal Credit the amount of on the ground support needed might be quite variable depending on who you select for the role.

How do employers receive the payments to cover the costs of employment for their Kickstart placement?

As the Gateway organisation, we receive all funds from the DWP and are then responsible for distributing them to each employer. We will do this via BACs transfer. Payments are made in arrears, please see indicated schedule below.

You will need to provide suitable proof of your bank details (eg. recent statement in the name of your organisation) to enable us to distribute funding to you. We will ask for this before we submit any vacancies on your behalf.

Payment schedule

Guidance below based on timings given by DWP. For the most up to date information please see the Gov website

Salary element of the grant is paid in arrears - on confirmation that Participant paid through pay-as-you-earn tax (PAYE). This will be one sixth of the Salary Element and payment is expected to be in or around the 6th week of the job and monthly after.

Updated 14/06/2021


Signing Up to the Kickstart Scheme
Role Creation, Applications & Employment
Training & Support
Half Signing Up
Half Role Creation
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