Employers must back scheme to put young people in work, say MPs

Sep 02, 2020

MPs Iain Stewart (left) and Ben Everitt.

EMPLOYERS have been urged to sign up and help young people into work to mark the opening of the government’s new Kickstart scheme.

The £2 billion scheme has been designed to ensure young people at risk of long-term unemployment have a future by creating quality, government-subsidised jobs across the UK, helping to spur the country’s economic recovery after the coronavirus pandemic.

The initiative has been welcomed by the two MPs for Milton Keynes.

Under the scheme, announced in June as part of the government’s Plan for Jobs, employers that sign up will be able to offer youngsters aged 16-24 who are claiming Universal Credit a six-month work placement that is fully funded by the government.

This means the government will pay 100% of the young persons’ age-relevant National Minimum Wage, National Insurance and pension contributions for 25 hours a week, which the employer can top up if they chose to. In addition, the Government will also pay the employer £1500 for each young person they take on, to support any training or associated costs like uniforms that they might incur when setting up the scheme.

The scheme will initially be open until December 2021 but there is the option for it to be extended. Young people will be referred into the new roles through their Jobcentre Plus work coach with the first Kickstarts expected to begin at the start of November.

Iain Stewart, MP for Milton Keynes South, said: “We cannot allow young people to be left behind as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, and schemes like this will be vital for creating jobs and giving young people the skills to access them.

“I am delighted that the government are putting young people are the heart of its plans to build back stronger after the pandemic and hope as many as possible are able to take part.”

Ben Everitt, who represents Milton Keynes North, added: “This is a fantastic scheme which will help young people get into work as we start our recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

“I would encourage all businesses eligible in MK to get involved with the scheme. They will be supporting a young person’s career and their wages will be paid by the government.”

The scheme is designed to prevent the careers of thousands of young people being held back by the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, said Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak.

He added: “This is not just about kickstarting our country’s economy. It is an opportunity to kickstart the careers of thousands of young people who could otherwise be left behind as a result of the pandemic.

“The scheme will open the door to a brighter future for a new generation and ensure the UK bounces back stronger as a country.”

Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey said the scheme is the most ambitious youth employment programme in the UK’s history, with an unlimited number of placements available.

“We are putting young people at the heart of our recovery by investing in potential, opening up opportunities and harnessing hope,” she added. “Together we will build back better, come back stronger and look forward to a prosperous future. Employers should sign up today.”

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