Kickstart – FAQs

We’ve compiled a list of FAQs. Please note that these are our interpretation of many queries raised with DWP and some information may change. The scheme has been one of the fastest of its kind to be set up and as such new information does arise. As it does, we will keep this up to date. We have included some FAQs as taken from information from DWP towards the end of the document.

Find all you need in our handy presentation!

I’m aware of a young person I’d like to take as my Kickstart placement. Can I do that?

At present the answer is no; candidates for the Kickstart scheme will come from the local job centre. They will decide eligibility and put forward candidates directly to employers for interview. DWP have advised this may change over time, particularly for 16-18 year olds, but currently young people need to be on universal credit and put forward by Job Centre coaches. If you know a young person and they are on universal credit you could you suggest they speak to their work coach about wanting to be put forward.

I’d like to offer more hours to the Kickstart placement, can I do that?

Yes, it is possible to offer additional hours but the government will only reimburse 25 hours plus NI and auto enrolment costs for those hours.

I’d like to offer a Kickstart placement but don’t have 25 hours, is that possible?

At this stage, our understanding is this is not possible it is both a minimum and max 25 hours.

We are a living wage employer, can we still participate in the scheme?

Yes of course but you will only be reimbursed the national living wage appropriate for their age. Any top up of wages would need to come from you as the employer.

National minimum living wage:

Age 21-24 Age 18-20 Under 18

£8.20 £6.45 £4.55


I have one position available but could I take more placements over the year?

Yes this is possible – if you have a placement working around social media, you could take one placement at the end of those 6 months and at the end of those 6 months a third placement effectively meaning you are offering 3 placements in total.

I have a placement available now and possibly more next year but not for certain, what should I do?

Placements do need to be as certain as possible. As a representative organisation, we will be applying for 30+ placements but if there is interest and appetite, we are willing to submit further applications when there are 30 confirmed placements. We would suggest you put 1 placement in now and when you have more certainty commit to further ones.

I’m a sole trader and don’t run payroll, will I be eligible for the scheme?

All of the payments for the scheme are linked to HMRC real time information system and payments and will be made based on the evidence of this from that system. You are eligible but would need to ensure that your placements are on payroll and registered with HMRC. If you are an existing all in member then please do call us for a further discussion.

We would like to offer additional training and a qualification to the Kickstart placement, can we do that?

Yes absolutely – if you feel this would be of value and help the young person on placement as well as for the future. This would be at your cost. In some circumstances and areas, we have relationships with providers that may enable you to access these qualifications for free and also make them available to your staff – we’d be happy to introduce.

What happens if the young person quits or doesn’t work out?

Our understanding is that there is no penalty to the employer for this, however the local JCP are keen to be involved in any potential placement breakdowns before they happen. Acting as a representative, we are also keen to avoid potential placement breakdown through the packages of support. We will need to be informed in circumstances where there is a breakdown of placement. Payments will obviously only relate to the hours worked. There is no indication that any of the £1,500 would be repayable.

Can I add another placement once I’ve got one started?

This would need to be part of a new application submitted as part of another set of 30 placements. We intend to keep this as a rolling programme working with business and organisations and submitting in batches over the lifetime of the programme. This will be subject to demand.

When will payments be released and how will they be calculated?

As the representative, all payments will come to us. We will be charged to passing them to yourselves and as such will be subject to us receiving them. The first payment of £1,500 to support the placement will be paid on first week of placement subject to confirmation that the placement has been registered with HMRC. Wage and on cost payment will be made in arrears at months 2, 4 and 7 and will be made based on real time information from HMRC. They will be released to us to then be passed on to employer.

Can we look for a ‘xxxx manager’ through the Kickstart scheme?

The purpose of the scheme is to provide experience to young people at risk of long-term employment and enable them to build experience for their CV to fully be part of the labour market. We would suggest a manager role would exceed the expectations of the scheme and would query a minimum wage payment for that level of responsibility. We would suggest looking at the duties you’re looking for them to cover and see if a manager job title is appropriate. We are also able to support through our offers to help you find the right job for the Kickstart scheme.

How long will it take once I’ve supplied the information to you for my Kickstart placement to start?

We will be submitting the application for placements no more than 7 days after the deadline submission (subject to full responses and all relevant information). DWP have committed to a 4 week turn around on applications for approval. Job descriptions will then be sent to local job centres. As this is a new scheme we are not presently aware of the timescales for young people for consideration to be sent to you as an employer- we would suggest a few weeks but this part of the process is led by DWP.

We’re a public body – are we eligible?


Is there a deadline for signing up the scheme as an employer? Does Real Ideas need us signed up in order to be confirmed as a gateway?

In order for us to progress an application as a Gateway on behalf of businesses and organisations wanting to work with us, we require an application from you by 16th October – please note the extended deadline following the webinar. To do this please go to sign up as a free member interested in the Kickstart scheme. In the members area when you log in you will find in the useful links the application form we require you to complete.

If an organisation does not have 25 hours per week to offer, can it join forces with another organisation to offer the 25 hours together with it, i.e. shared time? This is assuming both organisations’ placement would be in the same area of work.

There will need to be a lead employer who could be tasked with their duties to work with others.

Do they go to the local job centre to your organisation or to the gateway org? (We’re based in Totnes but work in Plymouth quite a bit).

Our understanding from DWP is that they will be sent to the Job Centre local to the address of the business.

Can you apply through more than one gateway organisation? (I’m freelance and one of the orgs I work with has already registered with chamber of commerce but was wondering if they can sign up with other orgs)?

Each placement should only be with one organisation – you could work with multiple gateways but they would need to be different placements being offered with each. If you would like our support but are with a different Gateway that is possible and something we’re offering. Please contact if you would like to proceed with this.

How many Kickstart employees can you apply for at a time? Are there restrictions related to your size?

There is currently no restrictions as we understand it but detailing the support would be critical to meet the requirements of the scheme.

How is it judged whether the young person is at risk of long-term unemployment? If they have a degree, does that rule them out?

Having a degree does not make young people ineligible from the scheme. Eligibility is decided by the job centre and currently they must be claiming universal credit and be in the looking for work category.

So far, our social enterprise has not employed anyone; it has used consultants. Does the employing organisation have to be set up as an employer, or to have existing employees?

The organisation needs to be set up to employ the placement with all the rights of an employee. If you are currently a member of Real Ideas and wish to discuss further, please contact

We’ve submitted the further info you requested via your forms. What’s the next stage?

We will pull together all applications and contact you if we require anything further to submit. We will then be in touch to confirm submission of application to DWP and then let you know when we receive the results of this and how things will proceed.

We are a CIC and don’t currently have any employees. Is there any organisation such as Real Ideas that could host the employment as we don’t have an employment PAYE set up?

If you are an existing member of Real Ideas, please contact to discuss.

Do we have any guesstimate of how many job applications there might be per job? Can we assume hopefully more than one?

We would like to assume that you would have a cohort – as the scheme is yet to get going we are, I’m afraid, guessing. Youth unemployment has risen by in many places by 200% (this is young people registered as unemployed with JCP). It is absolutely in the interest of JCP that the scheme is a success.

Will the young people receive any other income support whilst receiving this wage? How do we be careful of their welfare as min wage 25 hours enough barely enough to pay rent?

Universal Credit is supposedly set up to ensure that there is no huge drop in income through the transition to work and should even out. It is a real challenge. You may want to investigate being a living wage employer which could take some contribution from £1,500 to go towards this if you chose. Part of the support we can provide to young people is navigating the complexities of the universal credit system.

Can we run Jan-June then take on a 2nd anytime before June also?

Yes, this is very possible and can be part of the same application now that one placement will start in Jan and the second perhaps May.

So, does the job centre decide on recruitment?

Recruitment is decided by the business. JCP only chose those who are put forward. It is ultimately the businesses decision on whether to hire or not.

Can we suggest young people to ask the job centre?

Yes, if you know young people on Universal Credit you can encourage them to speak to their work coaches about opportunities.

Do they have to be on Universal Credit?

Currently yes.

How does it work if our employer takes up the Government support scheme to reduce employees hours?

It would need to be thoroughly justified that the placement is not taking on hours that have been reduced for other employees. If the placement shows that they are taking on no work that wasn’t planned or covered i.e. displacing then it might be possible.

How long do you envision the application and recruitment process might take? i.e. When might we realistically have a young person starting?

DWP are committing to a 4-week turnaround on applications. We will submit the application no more than 5 days after our deadline. We imagine it will take a few weeks from point of approval for jobs to be sent to local JCP and for them to begin to send candidates to businesses.

Will it only be advertised at the most local job centre to the organisation or will it be at multiple job centres?

We will escalate this query back to DWP.

What happens if they do not turn up consistently despite trying?

You would need to enact your grievance or disciplinary procedure as you would with any other employee, contact the job centre and ourselves as your Gateway organisation. If things cannot be resolved then it could result in dismissal from placement. Business would receive reimbursement for hours paid for at next point of deferred payment. Our understanding is there wouldn’t be a requirement to repay the £1,500.

What happens if the business gets locked down by the Government?

We will escalate this query to DWP. The Kickstart placement should be treated as any other employee is our understanding.

What’s the difference to this scheme and Game Changer?

Game Changer is a programme led by Real Ideas in Cornwall and Isles of Scilly to provide pre-employment support for young people. The Kickstart scheme is to give young people employment and we are able to provide support for them whilst in that placement if you chose to.

What happens should the Kickstart leave within 6 months?

The business will be reimbursed for the hours worked and paid for. As we understand it there would be no requirement for the business to repay the £1,500. DWP actively would encourage young people to move into full time employment / apprenticeships even before the end of the 6 months.

Does the company get an opportunity to interview the Kickstart to ensure they are bringing the right values into your company?

Yes, absolutely the businesses can run their own processes for the candidates JCP put forward to ensure best fit.

What happens if you put in for an application in and a Kickstart can’t be agreed on?

Ultimately recruiting an individual is down to the business. The JCP cannot dictate who you employ that is your choice. It may be that the placement goes unfilled.

I am a one-woman band – what do you recommend about providing a PC / laptop to a kick starter?

A Kickstart placement will be an employee and as such will need to be provided with the tools to do the job including laptop / phone if relevant. Part of the £1,500 is to cover set up costs and could be used here.

As I understand it you initially take on a placement and then at the end of the 6 months it is then up to the employer if they then recruit them permanently as opposed to just being placed with the company.

Yes, it is entirely up to the business as to whether they extend the employment. It is important to note the Kickstart placement will be employed with all relevant rights from the outset.

Would the additional costs of setting up PAYE be met by the scheme?

The £1,500 award can be used by the business as they feel appropriate to meet the needs of the scheme.

What does “legitimate business” mean i.e. do you have to be a limited company?

No, you need to have a company / charity number or be a public body (school/ local authority) I.e. your company must be registered.

Is it £1,500 per employer or per employee?

Per Kickstart employee / placement.

Does the payment from HMRC come to the Gateway Organisation or to the Employer who has the YP in their employment?

Yes, the payments all come through the Gateway organisation to be passed onto businesses. Real Ideas are committing to passing on these payments within 5 working days of us receiving them.

If employers have to registered with Companies House (quoted by DWP) how can co-operatives apply to host placement?

We will ask the question of DWP.

In the creative cultural sector, the matching is critical and often supported by video or spoken word applications – will this flexibility exist or will job centres operate a generic approach?

Yes, how an interview works can be led by the business.

Could Real Ideas liaise with Wales Coop Development Centre (& its contacts c/o Coop College) on this?

Yes, we will make contact.

We also understand sole traders cannot take part – so cuts out the freelancer sector?

Businesses taking part in the scheme will need to operate PAYE and employ the Kickstart placements.

How does the Real Ideas approach differ to CC Skills?

Both Real Ideas and CC skills are offering to be Gateway organisations. We are in regular conversations with CC skills. Real Ideas have a long track record of supporting young people into a wide range of sectors including the creative sector and supporting the sector particularly in the SW. CC skills are only offering to work with the creative sector. It is an organisation’s choice as to which Gateway they would like to go with. Details of our additional support offer are available in the member area.

These are further FAQs as answered by DWP:

Can a representative use a third-party payroll company to provide their financial governance and process the payments?

Yes, this would be part of your normal activity.

How would Sick Pay and Holiday Pay fit into the placements?

Being classed as an employee, normal terms and conditions would apply. This would therefore form part of their 25 hours.

Can someone undertaking a placement take on an additional part-time job?

Yes, we would expect them to remain on the placement once started, unless they obtained permanent employment.

Working hours – we’ve specified 25 hours per week. These be aggregated over a month – For example, 20 hours one week and 30 the second etc.

Our expectation is that the scheme would be for 25 hours per week.

Can we roll a participant from Kickstart into an Apprenticeship?

We believe so, however we’re in discussions with the Apprenticeship administrators to confirm this.

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