Commitment to the scheme
Do employers have to sign an agreement with Change Agents UK, and if so, what will this include?
Yes, but this will be very straightforward and simple - we are asking every potential Kickstart employer to complete our online form to ensure you understand our scheme and so we know you have things in place at your end to support the role, and are able to comply with the government eligibility rules for Kickstart placements. 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. You will need to provide a contract of employment to the Kickstarter themselves. We will support you in crafting the role profile for your placements and submitting these to DWP. You will have responsibility for receiving applications from Kickstarters and selecting the best person for the role. The contract of employment will exist between you and the Kickstarter.
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.
How sure do employers need to be of the number of placements they will take on at this stage?
Although we know that many things may happen between our bid submission and your intended date for taking on a Kickstart placement, we need to be as sure as possible that the number of placements you say you will take on will be upheld should the bid be successful. We therefore ask that before our bid submission deadline you have carefully considered the programme, who it is aimed at and whether the types of roles and candidates will be able to fit within the bounds of what you would like the roles to achieve; as well as the recruitment time and pastoral support required from you and your team to enable the best outcomes possible. We are able to put in subsequent bids for additional roles over the course of the funding, but these need to be submitted and approved by December 2021, so please consider DWP processing delays in this timeline before planning in any additional roles for your organisation.
Are there any costs to the employer?
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. However, you may want to consider increasing the wage or topping up their hours if that would fit better with the post you are wanting to fill. You should also ensure that you have considered the time impact of recruiting, inducting and managing your Kickstart. 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. The DWP has now stated that Kickstart wages will be paid to us a month in arrears, and then on a monthly basis from then on for each placement. Before payments commence, we will need confirmation of your organisation's bank details to ensure a timely transfer of funds.
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.
On what grounds will our placements be accepted for funding?
When we submit applications to DWP they will conduct due diligence on every prospective employer, to ensure your organisation is financially viable and able to support the roles proposed. Each employer must be able confirm to us that the Kickstart placement(s) is not replacing existing or planned vacancies, or will cause existing employees, apprentices or contractors to lose work or reduce their working hours. We will also provide information of where the roles are based, how we will support you in delivering training and guidance to the Kickstarters and what the roles will entail (though this can be fairly brief at this stage).
Can local government apply for a placement through a Gateway Organisation?
Yes, the scheme is open to any employer across the UK
Do you have to be ready to take on a Kickstart Placement straight away?
No, the scheme is open to us from now until December 2021 - the last bids will be December with placements needing to be completed by June 2022. DWP processes can be protracted and at times unpredictable in length, so we are strongly advising every potential employer to apply through us at the soonest possible time. You can state a start date for any time between now and the end of the funding period (December 2021) so you don't have to be ready to host a placement immediately even if you apply though us now.
Is there a limit on how many placements an employer can take on?
No, you decide to take on as many Kickstart placements as you have work for and feel you can support locally. They don't all have to start at the same time, so you could apply for three roles each lasting for 6 months one after the other, as long as the last placement finishes before June 2022.
How does the recruitment process work?
As the Gateway organisation we will continually gather placement proposals from across our group of employers. You will be asked to provide the details, required by the government to prove the viability of your proposed Kickstart position. We submit this on your behalf, and if the DWP approves the bid (currently stated as a 4 week period), we will then provide the official 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 to advertise through the Universal Credit site. At this point, the Job Centre local to you will work to find suitable candidates for your role who will then apply directly to you. You will then host your own interviews for the prospective Kickstarters and choose the right person for the role, as with any other interview procedure.
Can employers advertise roles locally themselves?
Yes, once your placement template has been submitted to the DWP, you can advertise the role through any channels you choose. There will be specific terminology you will have to use in order to comply with the eligibility criteria for the roles (e.g. that applicants must be 16-24, be on universal credit, and not have already completed another Kickstart placement). All applicants will have to apply through the channels specified by the DWP rather than through you directly.
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. We will however also work closely with the job centres to represent you and any issues in filling the roles you might have throughout the process. You will be able to re-advertise roles through the system if your first round of interviews are inconclusive. There will be no repercussions for the employer or Gateway organisation if a role is not filled - all payments from the DWP are only made upon successful employment of each Kickstarter.
What happens if a Kickstarter moves on before the placement is complete?
There is provision in place to support you to re-advertise placements should this be required before a placement is complete. If you decide to replace them, then your new Kickstart is eligible for the full funding for further 6 months and training.
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 some 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.