What is the Kickstart Scheme?

The government’s Kickstart Scheme was introduced in September 2020, at the height of the pandemic with the aim of helping young people who had been disproportionately negatively affected by the pandemic while helping businesses who couldn’t afford to hire help, but who needed it, to stay afloat.

Through the scheme Limited companies, charities, or not for profits can employ a 16–24-year-old at no cost. (We don’t see many 16 years olds on this scheme – in fact none, because the majority of 16- and 17-year-olds have to stay in education until 18).

The government covers training expenses and wages for 6 months at 25 hours a week on minimum wage for the age of the Kickstarter, giving businesses a free pair of hands and young people work experience.

The DWP are/were supposed to match the young people to the Kickstarter positions.

It’s So Simple….except that it’s not

To be eligible, candidates have to be on Universal Credit. It all sounds simple, but it really isn’t, for many reasons.

Firstly, there is very little focus on training and development. Most gateways get paid to fill in the application for you (the employer) and then take some or all of the training budget for….well not very much as far as we can see.

Worse still – many employers put nothing in place for training their young people and use the training grant to just bolster their own businesses bank balance or their own personal needs (ask us about this privately – we have shocking stories we could tell you).

In both of these scenarios, the young people have a job – so that’s good – but they are not learning or developing skills to help them find or stay in a long-term role. Skills are essential for this and if they aren’t learning any…….

Secondly – there are many companies who have applied for a Kickstarter to never hear back, or they are approved and then never get a CV.  When they finally make contact with their DWP they are told their vacancy has lapsed, but no one bothers to tell them they can ask for it to be extended.

 

Our particular Kickstart Scheme

Initially, businesses used a gateway because you had to offer a minimum of 30 placements and that just wasn’t realistic for most businesses. As a gateway, we would wait until we had 30 to put through, but months would pass and we would hear nothing, despite chasing.

In the spring the government opened up direct applications and scrapped the minimum number of placements rule we thought that would help.  It didn’t.

We decided to ditch putting applications through our gateway (Streetz Ahead/Loving Social) and created a limited company – Social Media Kickstarter Training, to handle the difficult application process, recruitment, and most importantly training and supporting the social media kick-starters working with ‘our’ clients for the entire 6 months and beyond.

Here are all the obstacles we have had to jump:-

  1. The DWP offices do not talk to each other. So, there is no way of one DWP being able to share vacancies or tell other DWP offices about our amazing program.
  2. The clients (and ourselves) are often not notified when jobs are live, OR when they have lapsed – therefore we have no true picture of which vacancies we can put our kick-starters into.
  3. Most clients receive no/a few referrals – but those are just the Work Coaches saying – I think this person would be good for your role.  It is NOT an application from the person themselves
  4. Most clients get NO actual applications
  5. Most clients do not know they can advertise the role themselves or how to do that.
  6. Most clients give up – which is a crying shame as there are young people out there that need this first step on the ladder of employment.

This is How our Social Media Kickstarter Training Scheme beats everything on the market.

  1. We apply for you – having done many hundreds of these – we know what info is required and in what format
  2. We handle the entire application process – all paperwork and processes- which can take up to 8 weeks before the vacancy is live
  3. We coach you on how to get the most out of your DWP
  4. We have had to get involved in recruitment, and have placed over 50% of our client’s vacancies ourselves, without your local DWP’s involvement (though if we can get their buy-in so much the better). One of our Joint MDs (Carole Fossey) has 20 years in recruitment before running a social media business, fortunately for our clients.
  5. Once your starter is in place, they join our 10 Day Intensive Induction process and then move on to our online platform for training, always supported by our daily zoom calls, WhatsApp, and Facebook group.
  6. Our two MDs each own a social media company – so are training the latest “What works now” strategies across social and digital media. This is not theoretical or hypothetical training.  This is real world.
  7. We teach them how to make you money – so you can afford to keep them at the end of 6 months.
  8. We hold monthly Employer zoom call to network, share best practice and get feedback.
  9. For whatever reason, if you cannot keep them – we commit to finding them a role. Our other MD (Garry Kousoulou) has much experience in apprenticeships and can help advise on this.
  10. All of this costs you nothing.

Getting young people into these roles has been like walking through treacle, uphill with a 10-ton backpack on.  But our Directors and team, are nothing if not resilient and innovative.  Every obstacle has been met with a solution and we plan to help hundreds more young people into a Kickstarter position by the end of the program.  And with the help of our amazing internal teams, our SMKT employee (herself previously a Kickstarter), and our fantastic affiliates, we know we will do it.

If you – or anyone you know – would like to have a free pair of social media hands in your business for 6 months – you have little time left to apply.  The scheme closes for registration/application on December 17th, 2021.  And then there is until March 31st to get a young person in place in your business.

Contact us urgently at applications@socialmediakickstartertraining.co.uk