The Kickstart Scheme – my pearls of wisdom

Are you a Small- or Medium-sized business looking at getting your mojo back or experiencing growth, but you are lacking cash flow or not sure if the need justifies an extra headcount? The kickstart Scheme is a fantastic, fully-funded programme to get 16-24 year olds who are on universal credit a paid work experience and get you an extra, paid-for resource.

I am passionate about supporting people at whatever stage of their careers they are in. In my view, there is a serious disconnect between education and the world of work. I know there are some incredible professionals who are slowly changing this, but the Kickstart Programme is a way to give a young person valuable work experience, employability skills and a credible role to put on their CV, sometimes leading to a permanent job role. You are not going to let someone fantastic go!

After telling our story online about Maria’s journey on the Kickstart Programme with GoGecko, I have been asked by a few people for advice on where to start, so here are my pearls of wisdom:

You have nothing to loose and everything to gain. Just do it!

There is also a deadline if you want to apply. Get it in now as the programme closes at the end of 2021.

Where to start?

Use an intermediary! (I used Access the Kickstart Scheme with AAI | AAI EmployAbility (

Scope out the role/roles you want to use the service for

Remember they are 16 to 24 year olds, some with little work experience so you will be required to provide training, so plan accordingly.

What money do you get upfront?

You get £1500 per vacancy from the government to cover training, equipment, etc. when you have been approved and your person has started. I got my initial money pretty quickly.

Do intermediaries charge for their services?

Some intermediaries will try and charge you for their services. Sometimes they will offer training. They get £400 per person placed from the government. AAI did not charge me, and I am not using their training services as I am doing this myself (if a recruiter can’t train employability skills..!)

I presume you can choose candidates?

You aren’t forced to take someone you don’t want. Yes, I had someone in mind, but you interview through applications in the usual way. No-one forces you to take someone.

Better for some types of roles than others?

I would say mine was an all-round marketing and project role. Just keep in mind the age and experience levels of candidates

Any hidden catches?

Not as far as I can tell.

Can companies have more than one?

Yes, as many as you want to apply for.

Anything else?

I am happy to give you any more information as and when you need it. Email me:

Patience is key ! my process took ages. You are dealing with DWP – hopefully they have sped things up a bit, but it’s worth applying. I am super grateful for the funded help which is giving a bright, switched-on graduate experience, but also has also lead to my first full time employee (scary but exciting!). It’s worked so well for me I am applying for another person to join our team