Time is running out for Kirklees businesses to sign up to the Kickstart scheme. The £2 billion initiative supports employers to offer fully funded job placements for young people aged 16 to 24.

The scheme, which has created over 50,000 new opportunities nationally, is due to end in December. Kirklees Council is urging local businesses to back the Government’s Plan for Jobs by applying now while funding is still available.

Kickstart funding covers an employee’s wages at National Minimum Wage, for 25 hours per week, over six months. Government funding not only covers salaries but also National Insurance and pension contributions.

In addition, employers receive a £1,000 grant per Kickstarter to cover initial set-up costs and training, while employability support is delivered by C+K Careers for employers applying through the council’s gateway.

To be eligible for the scheme, young people must be aged between 16 and 24, in receipt of Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment.

The council are practising what they preach by taking on a number of Kickstart recruits within various departments and hope that the offer is also of interest to businesses in a position to provide quality placements, which must be additional to any planned recruitment.

Clr Peter McBride, Cabinet member for regeneration, said: “This scheme has married up great work experience for young people struggling to break into industry with providing a bit of extra support for local businesses during a crucial time.

“For young people struggling to break into industry, this is not only the opportunity to gain valuable training and insight it’s also a way to build confidence and equip them with other skills they need for employment.

“Meanwhile, this scheme is also currently benefiting almost 100 local businesses by providing a bit of extra support at a crucial time. They’re gaining what might just be fresh minds and enthusiastic support for six months, or could even be their next permanent employee once the placement comes to an end.

“By getting involved in the Kickstart scheme, businesses are not only bringing in extra resource for themselves – they’re also helping tackle youth unemployment, and providing experience which could really change a young person’s life for the better.”

As a Kickstart Gateway, Kirklees Council continues to provide support to businesses interested in taking part. Employers interested in taking part should contact the team at kickstart@kirklees.gov.uk

If you are a young person, 16-24 years old and currently in receipt of Universal Credit, please contact your Job Centre Plus Work Coach to discuss whether the Kickstart scheme is right for you.