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Government support for jobs

Duncan & Toplis | 26 January 2021

The government has announced a programme under the Plan for Jobs initiative to support young people getting into the workplace and building the skills they will need. 

The government are expanding existing provisions, which will provide funding with the aim of increasing threefold the number of traineeships and sector-based work academy placements available, alongside further support for apprenticeships which enable people to work while training. 

There are three elements to this support.The Kickstart Scheme which supports paid work placements, traineeships which supports unpaid six week to six-month work experience placements and an apprenticeship programme. We explore these below. 

Kickstart Scheme 

The government is to introduce a new Kickstart Scheme to fund the direct creation of high quality jobs for young people at the highest risk of long-term unemployment.The aim is to allow young people to develop the skills they need to get into employment and, with the support of other initiatives, help young people to secure permanent jobs.

From 3 February 2021, employers can apply directly to the scheme, as the government are removing the previous minimum threshold of 30 job placements. Prior to this, smaller businesses had to apply to the scheme through a Kickstart gateway, but, as there are now over 600 gateways, the government are closing applications for new gateways from 28 January 2021. Kickstart gateways already working with the scheme can continue to add more employers and job placements to their grant agreement. 

The key features of this scheme are as follows: 

  • This initiative is aimed at 16-24 year olds who are on Universal Credit and deemed to be at high risk of long term unemployment. 
  • Employers under this scheme will offer a high quality six-month work placement and must be able to demonstrate that the job is a new role. 
  • The employer will pay a minimum of the relevant statutory minimum wage rate for each “kickstarter” on a work placement. 
  • The employer can get funding from the government of up to 100% of the relevant statutory minimum wage for 25 hours of work each week, plus the associated employer NI and minimum automatic enrolment pension costs. 
  • The employer can offer more than 25 hours, but these additional hours are at the employer’s own cost. 
  • The employer must provide worthwhile, high quality training to the “kickstarter” which is not an apprenticeship, although the employer is able to retain the individual as an apprentice after the work placement has ended.  
  • The employer must support the “kickstarter” in finding a permanent job. 

This scheme opened on 2 September 2020, with the first placements expected in November.

Full employer guidance is available here.


The traineeship scheme is another option for employers to support a young person between the ages of 16 and 24 gain unpaid workplace experience.  

The key features are as follows: 

  • Employers under this scheme will offer a work experience placement lasting between six weeks and six months. 
  • The employer does not have to pay the individual but can offer expenses to cover costs of travel and meals. 
  • The employer must offer a minimum of 70 up to 240 hours of work experience over the six-month period. 
  • The employer must provide feedback and advice and must offer an interview for an apprenticeship or job in the company at the end of the traineeship if one is available. 
  • The employer must provide an exit interview at the end of the traineeship with meaningful written feedback if no job or apprenticeship is available. 
  • The employer will receive £1,000 for each traineeship they have placed. 
  • The employer will work with a training provider to place a suitable trainee. 
  • The training provider will assess the needs of the trainee and both the provider and the employer will agree the number of days the trainee will work and how training will be delivered. 

Employers who are interested in traineeships should get in touch with the National Apprenticeship Service or contact a local traineeship provider. 

08000 150600  |  nationalhelpdesk@findapprenticeship.service.gov.uk 


Apprenticeships have been in place for a number of years, but under the Plan for Jobs initiative the government will now award employers £2,000 for taking on a new apprentice under the age of 25 years old. For any apprentice taken on aged 25 and over, the government will award the employer £1,500. 

The award of £2,000 or £1,500 will apply to any new apprentices hired between 1 August and 31 January 2021. 

These payments are in addition to the existing £1,000 paid by the government to an employer hiring an apprentice between the age of 16 and 18 years old and those under the age of 25 if they have an Education, Health and Care Plan. 

Employers should get in touch with a local apprenticeship training provider for more information. 


For the latest guidance and professional advice, please contact us or speak to your dedicated Duncan & Toplis adviser. 

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