Nine months after its inception, only 16,500 people were hired as part of the Kickstart program. The government’s goal was to create 250,000 jobs through Kickstart, and the Think-Tank Resolution Foundation predicted that take-up of the program could exceed that number dramatically.
The Ministry of Labor and Pensions stands by its goal and promised last week to step up its efforts. It was noted that the current development of key sectors such as hospitality, culture and leisure supports the program.
The Kickstart program was announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak as part of a job plan to tackle youth unemployment
Companies large and small have joined the Kickstart program.
Major companies that have participated in or supported the program include M&S, Tesco, Network Rail, The Royal Mint, and KFC, to name a few. For example, M&S plans to take in a total of 360 young people as part of the program. A second Kickstart cohort is planned for June this year.
However, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have difficulties accessing the system, mainly due to the additional bureaucratic burden and the delays in the application process.
Most of the delays are due to the fact that companies hiring fewer than 30 people through the program were unable to contact DWP directly. Instead, the rules forced SMEs to offer internships through an intermediary or “gateway”.
Carmen O’Neal, executive director of 58 Gin, says she has waited over eight weeks and has not yet been approved under the Kickstart program
Jo Caine, managing director of the specialist recruiting firm Cathedral Appointments, says: “The application process for the Kickstart program is lengthy, there is a lot of paperwork and an extremely saturated line of communication.
“Cathedral Appointment took almost three months to apply from start to finish, but we finally got final confirmation that our vacancies were filled last week.”
Carmen O’Neal, managing director of 58 Gin, an eco-distillery in East London, has had a similar experience.
She says, “We started the process eight weeks ago. We are still waiting for the first phase of approval and have no clear indication of how long this will take.
‘This is extremely frustrating as this program will really help us move the business forward. After a difficult 12 months for our company and the entire hospitality industry, we are able to rely on the program to support our progress and growth.
“We want to offer young people the opportunity to develop and support them for a long-term career in the distillery and in the entire industry. At the moment, however, the program has not got underway and we still have tasks to be filled. ‘
DWP has confirmed to This is Money that application times have been reduced and that the average processing of applications will take 21 days from March 16.
However, this excludes the time it takes to hire and select candidates. A DWP spokesman explains: “Once approved, an employer decides when the job starts and the local Jobcentre Plus staff refer young people to an application.
According to Jo Caine, CEO of Cathedral Appointments, the kickstart application process could be faster if companies had more autonomy in the hiring process
Caine says it’s not surprising that there are delays: “Our local councils, the Department of Occupational Pensions, and the job center were given an immense effort.
“In order to help the youngest generation, the group hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic is regaining its self-confidence, building on its skills and re-entering the world of work with the support of role models and teams, consistently ensuring that there will be none Made an easy job of making fraudulent claims. ‘
Change of rules
The delays have resulted in the government removing the 30-job threshold from the Kickstart program earlier this year.
A DWP spokesperson said: ‘Since Kickstart launched in September 2020, we have continued to listen and work with stakeholders to ensure Kickstart is working as effectively as possible. Based on this feedback, we have removed the minimum 30 positions for a direct application from an employer.
“This means that those who wish to apply for Kickstart jobs will have a choice of how to handle the program, either through one of over 900 approved gateways or through a direct application.”
Another aspect that employers have identified that is slowing down the process is the selection of candidates through the job centers.
After a difficult 12 months for our company and the entire hospitality industry, we are able to rely on the program to support our progress and growth
Carmen O’Neal, manager of 58 Gin
Says Caine, “One area that I think could help speed up the process a little is giving employers more autonomy in the kickstart hiring process.
‘At the moment, applications have to go through the job center before they are forwarded for review by employers. This seems like a very tedious back and forth.
“If employers have the opportunity to find and screen their own applicants while the job center is kept informed of all progress so as to avoid ‘foul play’, it will undoubtedly make the process much smoother and more efficient.”
At this point, however, the DWP is obliged to keep the job centers as part of the recruitment process.
A spokesperson said, “We understand that employers want to promote the kickstart jobs they have available for young people, and employers are working with local job centers to do this.
What is the Kickstarter Program?
The Kickstart program is a six-month internship that aims to help young people who have been unemployed for a long time to climb the career ladder.
The Kickstart program pays employers directly to create new jobs for six months, provided they:
· Can prove that the role is a new job and an addition to the company;
· Recruiting young workers between the ages of 16 and 24;
· Recruitment of workers who are currently applying for a universal loan;
· The young recruits had to work at least 25 hours a week and pay at least the national minimum wage.
“Referrals need to be made through job trainers to ensure that eligible young people apply for these jobs. Funding for the Kickstart program is only granted if a young person is hired in this way.
“If candidates are recruited through your own promotional activity, you will not receive kickstart funding for those people.”
According to the National Statistics Office, two-thirds of young people who lost their jobs since February 2020 were under 25 years of age. While advances in the placement of young people have been slow, more and more companies and organizations are committed to using the Kickstart program.
The Nottingham Castle Trust has pledged to create more jobs this week as part of the Kickstart program.
The internships will take place in the newly renovated castle and offer applicants the rare opportunity to gain experience with an international tourist attraction which, when it reopens on June 21, 2021, will play a key role in Nottingham’s economic revitalization.
Meanwhile, the youth welfare organization ManpowerGroup announced in April that it has partnered with The Prince’s Trust to support thousands of young people in the program.
The DWP spokesman added: ‘We are confident that we will create 250,000 Kickstart jobs. As we move the roadmap out of lockdown, the number of young people starting their kickstart jobs is increasing from week to week.
“The Chancellor has announced the £ 2 billion Kickstart program as part of the government’s employment plan, and we expect to be able to offer good quality kickstart jobs for young people.”
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