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Paid 'work experience' for Universal Credit recipients

written by Bella Palmer
universal-credit

The UK Government will fully fund each job, paying the National Minimum Wage and pension contributions

Thousands of young people in Wales are set to be offered six months of paid work experience as part of a new government scheme.

The UK Government has today announced that businesses can now sign up for the £2bn Kickstart scheme, which aims to provide work opportunities for people aged 16 to 24.

The age group's employment prospects have been particularly badly hit by the coronavirus outbreak, with almost 538,000 young people aged 24 and under on Universal Credit as of July.

Under the new scheme, employers can offer youngsters who are claiming Universal Credit a six-month work placement.

The UK Government will fully fund each 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 UK Government will also pay employers £1,500 to set up support and training for people on a Kickstart placement, as well as helping pay for uniforms and other set up costs.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: This isn’t just about kickstarting our country’s economy - it is an opportunity to kickstart the careers of thousands of young people who could otherwise be left behind as a result of the pandemic. The scheme will open the door to a brighter future for a new generation and ensure the UK bounces back stronger as a country.

Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart said: We have taken unprecedented action to secure Wales’s economic recovery from the pandemic. More than 500,000 Welsh jobs have been protected through the Job Retention and Self Employed schemes while over 40,000 businesses in Wales have received more than £1.4 billion in loans.

Protecting, supporting and creating jobs is at the heart of our plan for recovery. Aimed at young people, the Kickstart scheme will make sure no-one is left behind as we get the Welsh economy moving again, he said.

The government said businesses of all sizes can apply and there is no cap on the number of places.

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, the Government said.

Around 700,000 young people are set to leave education and enter the job market this year, with a quarter of a million more people aged under 25 claiming unemployment benefits since March.

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