Rachel has welcomed the launch of an innovative new scheme to help young people into work and spur Britain’s economic revival.

Businesses are now able to sign up to be part of the landmark £2 billion Kickstart scheme – giving unemployed young people a future of opportunity and hope by creating high-quality, government-subsidised jobs across the UK.

Under the scheme, announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak as part of his Plan for Jobs, employers can offer youngsters aged 16-24 who are claiming Universal Credit a six-month work placement.

The Government will fully fund each “Kickstart” job – paying 100% of the age-relevant National Minimum Wage, National Insurance and pension contributions for 25 hours a week.

Employers will be able to top up this wage, while the Government will also pay employers £1500 to set up support and training for people on a Kickstart placement, as well as helping pay for uniforms and other set up costs.

The jobs will give young people – who are more likely to have been furloughed, with many working in sectors disproportionately hit by the pandemic – the opportunity to build their skills in the workplace and to gain experience to improve their chances of finding long-term work.

Rachel said:

“I remember how vital my first job was in learning essential work place skills such as turning up on time, teamwork, getting on with people from different backgrounds to my own. All skills which have stood me in good stead later in life, and without which I could not have progressed.

“I believe in providing a ladder for young people who have been through so much turmoil in the pandemic – to give them that first step-up. They have already missed so much of what many of their peers take for granted in terms of major life stages. Now we must ensure that we act to step-in to ensure their life chances aren’t damaged permanently. 

“People ask how we will pay for this – but it’s clear that the young people themselves and society generally would pay a much greater price in the long term if we don’t invest in our young people urgently. 

“Redditch has an incredible pool of talented young people, and I want to see local businesses hiring our town’s talented and skilled young people.”

Businesses of all sizes looking to create quality jobs for young people can apply and there is no cap on the number of places.  Household names including Tesco has already pledged to offer Kickstart jobs.

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.

The scheme, which will be delivered by the Department for Work and Pensions. will initially be open until December 2021, with the option of being extended.

To help smaller businesses, employers offering fewer than 30 placements will be asked to make a bid through an intermediary, such as a Local Authority or chamber of commerce, who will then bid for 30 or more placements as a combined bid from several businesses. This will make the process easier and less labour intensive to apply for these smaller companies who only want to hire one or two Kickstarters.

Employers can find more information about the Kickstart scheme: gov.uk/kickstart