Employer guidance for applying for Kickstart Scheme – Sheffield


Why apply through this Consortium?

“The Sheffield Partnership for Jobs and Skills” has been brought together to provide support to Businesses in Sheffield in a “joined up” effort to aid COVID-19 business recovery in regard local Employment and Skills. It is made up of: Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, Voluntary Action Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield City Council, Sheffield Social Enterprise Network and Sheffield Digital.

We recognise the importance of having processes that make it easy for employers to get access to services and initiatives aimed at local recovery from the economic impact of COVID-19. The Kickstart Initiative represents the first scheme that this Partnership will look to provide some localised co-ordination and direction with in regard employment and skills recovery.

This consortium has been brought together to provide some coordination around ‘Kickstart’ by:

  • Pooling JDs for DWP Approval – applications have to be submitted in batches of 30, working collaboratively across a range of representatives means we should not be waiting longer than required to get applications through the system.
  • Reduce competition – we know how frustrating it is when there are lots of people asking you to sign up to different initiatives.  We want to put a stop to that by improving how we work for your benefit to support local business growth, COVID recovery and jobs.
  • Giving you a voice – our range of partners are sector leaders who understand your needs and can provide voice and influence in shaping the way we do things for this and future projects.


What is ‘Kickstart’?

The Government has launched a ‘Kickstart’ scheme to fund the direct creation of high quality jobs for 16-24 year olds at the highest risk of long- term unemployment.

The aim of the scheme is to support organisation sustainability whilst giving young people the chance to build their confidence and skills in the workplace, and to gain experience that will improve their chances of going on to find long- term, sustainable work.

Summary of how “Sheffield Partnership for Jobs and Skills” can assist you:

1.           Support to complete and submit an application and Job Description to apply for the funding (see below).

2.           Funding is awarded by Department for Work and Pensions and it will cover 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus the associated employer contributions. The employer can pay more than NMW and for more than 25 hours per week, but will only be reimbursed at NMW for 25 hours.

3.           Jobcentre Plus identify eligible candidates from who are aged 16-24, claiming Universal Credit and at risk of becoming long term unemployed (these positions CAN NOT be advertised in a traditional fashion).

4.           Employing organisation will receive applications from Jobcentre Plus.

5.           Employing organisation can interview applicants and appoint the successful candidate.

6.           Employer is paid £1,500 training allowance to be used to support the development of the young person upon starting their employment.

7.           Salary is reimbursed retrospectively at 3 months and 6 months once HMRC have confirmed the person appointed is still on payroll.

8.           The young person is employed for a maximum of 6 months and towards the end of the programme, they must be given support by the employer to identify and access appropriate progression opportunities internally or externally from the organisation.

9.           If the young person leaves prior to 6 months, the employer will be reimbursed for the time they did work (up to a maximum of NMW over 25 hours per week).

Different application processes

Business support organisations in Sheffield have come together to help provide a simple process that will enable employers in Sheffield to access this scheme in the fastest possible way. 

The details described in this document are the ways to apply with the support of this partnership.  If you wish to apply independently, you can follow this Government guidance

Is my organisation eligible to access this scheme?

Any organisation can apply for the funding, no matter the size, as long as the jobs that are being created are new.  Using this scheme to displace existing job roles is not allowed.

How to apply through ‘The Sheffield Partnership for Jobs and Skills’.

Simple! You will be matched with a representative organisation from this partnership to help take you through this process ensuring higher success of your job being funded by Kickstart.

Your representative organisation will provide you with a simple Job Description template and check that you have understood the full process and timescales.

When it is complete, your representative organisation will submit it into the Sheffield Kickstart Application Hub for submission. 

How long will my application take?

Government guidance suggests that it will take a minimum of 4 weeks for them to process all JD applications.  Whilst this is the best case scenario, it is better to plan for feedback or approval of JDs within 6-8 weeks and another 2 weeks after this for the position to “go live” with Jobcentre Plus and eligible jobseekers.

How do young people apply?

Only young people matching the Government criteria can apply for these roles. 

Young people must be aged 16-24, claiming Universal Credit and also at risk of long term unemployment.

Whilst your application is being considered by DWP, our representatives and wider partnerships will start to work with Jobcentre Plus to identify and prepare potential candidates for your role.


What does this pay for?

For each Kickstart job, the Government will cover the cost of 25 hours work a week at the National Minimum Wage (as of 1st April 2020):

●            £4.55 for under 18s

●            £6.45 for 18 to 20-year-olds

●            £8.20 for 21 to 24-year-olds

Associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions will also be covered.

Employers will also be able to top up salaries beyond National Minimum Wage if they wish, but this additional expense will be at the cost of the employer.

£1,500 Payment to support training and start up:

A payment of £1,500 will be made to your organisation to help contribute to the internal or external training and ‘start up’ requirements of the young person over the 6 month period. 

This funding should be used to build their experience and help them move into sustained employment (including Apprenticeships) after they have completed their Kickstart scheme funded job.

How will the salary be paid?

Once you have appointed a young person, their start will be identified on your PAYE systems triggering a retrospective payment of the outlined costs above at 3 months and then again at 6 months. 

This is important to be aware of as there are no funds available through this scheme to support organisation cash flow for this appointment. All payments are in arrears and will be processed through The Sheffield Chamber of Commerce regardless of whether you are a member or not.

Who will make this payment?

Our partners at Sheffield Chamber of Commerce have agreed to lead on payments to Kickstart employers coming through this consortium. 


Can this fund Apprenticeship salaries?

This scheme is not an Apprenticeship and cannot part or fully fund one as the Government would class this as displacement which is not allowed under this programme. 

Though the scheme itself isn’t an apprenticeship, participants can move onto an apprenticeship at any time during or after their placement.  Discuss this with your representative if this is something you are interested in.

Are graduates eligible for this programme?

Yes but they must be aged 16-24, in receipt of Universal Credit and at risk of long term unemployment. Sheffield Hallam University will be helping prepare Graduate JCP claimants in applying for, and succeeding at, these roles.

If your position is to be considered a “Graduate Job” the DWP would expect to see rates of pay above NMW with significant development and progression built into the role.

What expectations are there of me as a Kickstart employer?

As part of the application process, you will need to explain how you will help to develop the participant’s skills and experience, including:

●            Support to look for long-term work, including career advice and setting goals

●            Support with CV and interview preparations

●            Support for the participant with basic skills, such as attendance, timekeeping and teamwork

Can I Have More Than One Kickstart Job?

Once the Kickstart JD has been created and approved for your organisation, it can be used to refill the place once the first applicant has completed their first six-month term.

You are also allowed to host more than one Kickstart job – opportunities could be multiple people on the same JD and/or a number of unique jobs. 

Can I speak to someone from the “Sheffield Partnership for Jobs and Skills” about this in more detail before applying?

Yes, in the initial instance please email:


A representative from the Partnership will be in touch.

I know I want to apply. Where do I send my completed JD?

Please send all completed JDs to kickstart@lifelonglearningandskills.org

Please note there needs to be one JD for each specific job role. Multiples of the same job role can feature on one JD.

Kickstart Expression of Interest form

Employers can register their interest in the Kickstart Scheme in Sheffield via the following link: