The Government has introduced a new Kickstart Scheme in Great Britain, aiming to create hundreds of thousands of high quality 6-month work placements aimed at those aged 16 to 24 who are on Universal Credit and are deemed to be at risk of long term unemployment.
Funding available for each job will cover 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus the associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions.
However, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) National Chair Mike Cherry said: “The kickstart scheme aims to help young people into work but many small businesses will be disappointed to see this announcement which feels more aligned to the needs of larger businesses.
“Without further work, the scheme will leave many without any employment support after waiting for it for so long. Crucially it is more difficult to access for those hiring fewer than 30 roles through the scheme, who as it stands will need to find intermediaries. There is currently no guidance for how to become an intermediary and how they will operate the scheme.
“To hire 30 individuals is just beyond the means of most small businesses, many of which have far fewer employees or don’t have the HR support on hand to introduce that number of new employees.
“The time it will take to hire these 30 employees across several small firms could take months and result in increased costs for small firms at a time when they need our support the most.
"Small firms, who are the largest employers across the business landscape, have long expressed interest in this scheme and will be disappointed to find it harder than expected to take part. To put it bluntly, this scheme has not been designed with small businesses front of mind. The Government should issue guidance, and soon, to make it easy for small business organisations to become intermediaries, or a direct application route for small firms.
“The Government assures us it wants to make Kickstart work for small employers, and we are in discussions with them on how to address small business concerns and make sure it does.”