New Kickstart Scheme should be extended to include SMEs
This week, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the launch of the Kickstart Scheme, which aims to help young people who are “at risk of long term unemployment” gain six-month work placements within businesses across the country.
Launched under the government’s Plan for Jobs programme, the scheme is available for young people aged 16-24, who are currently claiming Universal Credit. Each “Kickstart” job will be fully subsidised by the government, who will pay 100% of the age-relevant National Minimum Wage, National Insurance and pension contributions for 25 hours a week. In the Summer Statement, Sunak stated that these grants would equal around £6,500.
Whilst small businesses that would like to apply for this scheme are able to do so through a local authority, there is a minimum requirement to accept 30 placements. The authority will then compile separate applications and bid for pools of 30 at once.
It is clear to see that schemes like this are a fantastic opportunity for young people to get a kick-start into the working world, and to help them get out of the long-term unemployment trap. However, for it to be truly effective and make the most impact, access to schemes such as this need to be simplified for SMEs.
Small and medium-sized businesses make up 99% of organisations in the private sector and employ over 16 million people. This is no small feat, and must not be ignored by government schemes and grants. Cutting the red tape and getting young people into small business teams will be vital to economic recovery. It will help SMEs to grow, as well as offering young people the support they need to kick-on post-COVID. Through schemes such as the Enterprise Investment Scheme, private equity can help SMEs to grow and scale by giving them the finance to hire the new talent needed to move to the next level.
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