Posted 08 October 2020

What is the Kickstart Scheme and how can it help emerging creatives?

If you’re aged between 16 and 24, the UK government’s new scheme could help you land a paid placement. And if you’re an employer, you can help create opportunities for thousands of entry-level job-seekers. Set to launch in November 2020, we’ve gathered everything you need to know about the upcoming initiative.

How does it work?

The Kickstart Scheme is a new initiative created by the UK government to help create thousands of six-month, paid placements for young people who have been particularly hard hit by the pandemic.

The placements aim to offer experience, skills and confidence, and will be paid for by the government as part of its Plan for Jobs.

The funding amounts to 25 hours a week (around three days a week) at minimum wage, and employers have the option to top up these wages (for example, to make up to Living Wage) and extend the weekly hours, paid out of their own pockets.

Who is it for?

It will be available to people aged between 16 and 24 who are out of work and claiming Universal Credit. According to government figures, there are over half a million people who currently fall into this category.

Alongside the application process, Jobcentre staff will be identifying those who are at the most risk of long-term unemployment and will be referring them to the scheme.

For creative roles, there will also be a number of organisations helping young people find the right placements. Create Jobs is one of these, so we recommend keeping an eye out for updates.

When will it start and how long will it last?

The scheme is currently set to launch in November 2020, but it’s likely that many available placements will be announced after this – and it will run until at least December 2021.

Why do we need it?

While the pandemic continues to impact the job market, the reality is that it’s young people who are likely to be worst hit. Many are already experiencing the effects, with hundreds of thousands of under-24-year-olds currently receiving Universal Credit.

What’s more is that over 700,000 people are leaving education and set to be entering into the job market, and a huge number have seen placements and opportunities cancelled.

As stated in a recent research report, unemployment can lead to a higher likelihood of long-term effects, including lower pay and higher unemployment. It has never been more vital to support younger people with their first steps into industry.

What companies will be involved?

We can’t say for sure yet, as companies are currently signing up to take part. But this isn’t just for the creative industry – it’s available to all sectors, and is expected to host a diverse range of roles from various businesses across England, Scotland and Wales.

The likelihood is that larger companies will sign up first (for example, Tesco have confirmed they will offer over 1,000 placements). However, the scheme is also open to smaller businesses of more than 30 people.

We will update you as soon as we know more about what companies are involved.

How do you sign up?

There isn’t one place for young people to sign up, as the scheme hasn’t yet launched, but you can head to the Kickstart Scheme website for more information.

We will be updating this page as soon as we know more, so keep an eye out, as well as checking Create Jobs for Kickstart information.

What if I’m an employer?

If you work at or run a company that would be interested in taking part, we recommend checking the video below and this page for more details, as well as signing up via Create Jobs’ website – who are helping match young applicants and employers.

The launch video for the scheme


Stay tuned for more announcements on this scheme in the coming weeks.

Written by Creative Lives in Progress