Could you use some help in your business and support a 16-24 on Universal Credit?

The Government recently introduced a Kickstarter Scheme in order to create thousands of new high-quality job placements for 16-24 year olds supporting young people to develop new skills that will help them move into sustained employment after they have completed their Kickstart Scheme job placement with you.

The Kickstart Scheme enables you to create meaningful placements to help YOUR business – for example, creating a specific marketing campaign, or focusing on the things you’ve been meaning to ‘get around to’ but never quite had the time to focus on.

The Kickstart Scheme provides organisations of all sizes across the private, public and voluntary sectors with the opportunity to access a large pool of young people with potential. On confirmation of the job start, the employer will be paid a grant of £1,500 per job placement to support overhead costs i.e. payroll, induction, leadership and employability.

Are you eligible as an employer?

  • You must show you can create meaningful six month placements, with clear duties, responsibilities and goals, and which must not make any current employees redundant or fill existing vacancies.
  • If you cannot take the required minimum of 30 placements, you can apply for fewer placements via a Kickstart Gateway  who will collect a minimum of 30 applications from a number of companies and will apply on your behalf.
  • You can take one or more placements if applying through a Gateway, to start immediately (i.e. as soon as the application is approved), or, in a few months time.
  • You are able to interview and select your employee. You may take another or more 16-24 year old(s) under the scheme at the end of the placement.

Which businesses are more likely to be approved?

You are more likely to be approved if your business:

  •  has existed for a while
  •  regularly and recently submitted accounts
  •  has a credit score which is a low risk category
  •  has a low probability of imminent business failure
  •  has enough liquid assets to pay your debts
  •  does not have any recent county court judgments (CCJs)

How does funding work?
The funding available for each job is paid via your PAYE system and forwarded to you by the Gateway Company in arrears. The funding covers the relevant National Minimum Wage rate for 25 hours a week, plus, the associated employer National Insurance contributions, and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions for six months.


A Kickstart Scheme job placement should give the young person real workplace skills that will make a difference to their prospects of finding work in the future. This can include training, the opportunity to try new tasks and build new skills, or helping them to improve their existing skills.

As part of the scheme you must show that you intend to support the young person on their Kickstart Scheme job placement, so that they increase their chances of finding work once their six-month job placement has ended. This can be outsourced to an employability company.

Optimal Connections

Optimal Connections, a Kickstarter Gateway Company can help you identify, recruit and manage the employability aspects of the Kickstart scheme. Optimal Connections provide employability training for £500 which is taken from your set-up grant of £1500.

“I was delighted to see the possibility of helping unemployed 16-24 year olds and help me broaden my business at the same time. I have confidence in working with Optimal Connections to increase the employability skills of the chosen young person, and I found the application process very easy and straightforward so far.” Pim Preston, Pim Preston Designs Limited

Download Optimal Connections Employer guide here
Download Optimal Connections Employer Details Form here
Download Optimal Connections sample completed Form here here OCK Signed Form Example December 2020
For more information on Optimal Connections contact Jacqueline Bourbon at or call  01252 285677


Hampshire Chamber of Commerce Kickstart Gateway service

Hampshire Chamber of Commerce are taking on the role of intermediary to being together groups of businesses who want to take on fewer than 30 people and supporting them to bid for funding. To find out more contact Coral Benham:
Find out more about Kickstart
Download the Government’s Kick Start Employer Guide here.