What is Kickstart?

Kickstart is a government funded scheme that provides financial support for organisations who wish to offer paid work experience opportunities to young people. It is a programme that has been developed in the wake of Covid-19 and the impending youth unemployment increase caused by the pandemic.

Wrap Around Programme Login

Whilst Kickstart provides both employers and young people an excellent opportunity, it is important to ensure that a quality experience is at the core of every placement. The purpose of the programme is to help young unemployed people build their knowledge and experience of the world of work and hopefully lead them on into successful careers.

Some of the young people who will benefit from the programme will have been unemployed and outside of education or training for several months, they may be young people that experience multiple barriers and have already been scarred by the impact of long periods of unemployment. Businesses who are passionate about creating good quality opportunities for young people will benefit from developing a quality programme that builds on existing good youth employment practice.

The job placements created with Kickstart funding must be new jobs. They must not:

  • replace existing or planned vacancies
  • cause existing employees or contractors to lose or reduce their employment

The roles you are looking to fill should not require people to undertake extensive training before they begin the job placement.

Every job placement created gets £1,500 funding. This funding is for setup costs and to support the young person to develop their employability skills. You can choose to get someone else to do this for you, such as a Kickstart gateway or a service provider.


The jobs must be new jobs and not replace existing or planned vacancies, and they cannot cause existing employees or contractors to lose or reduce their employment.

The role must be a minimum of 25 hours per week, for 6 months and paid at least the National Minimum Wage for their age group.

It should not require people to undertake extensive training before they begin the job placement.

There must be wrap around support to help the individual look for long-term work, including career advice and setting goals, support with CV and interview preparations and supporting the participant with basic skills, such as attendance, timekeeping and teamwork.

We have an NSAFD wraparound programme specifically designed for the Food & Drink sector. Please get in touch for further details about this programme.

The Hours of Work & Pay

Kickstart provides funding for the placement candidate to work 25 hours per week at the minimum wage rate. You can pay a higher wage and for more hours but the funding will not cover this.

You can develop a programme that meets the 25 hours per week or decide to offer the Kickstart Candidate full time hours. You can also make the decision to increase the pay rate and support the Kickstart Candidate with any other costs – subsistence or travel.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will use information from HMRC to check that the young person is still employed. The grant funding to pay the young person’s salary will be paid in monthly arrears when we know they are:

  • enrolled on your payroll
  • being paid through Pay as You Earn (PAYE)

Working with Kickstart Gateway Organisation & Partners

As part of the Kickstart Programme you could either be working directly with DWP and your local JobCentre or a Kickstart Gateway Organisation like the National Skills Academy who will support your activities. In either case you should take responsibility for the quality of the programme and that the Kickstart Candidates have the best possible experience to help them to progress in life.

You can also choose to bring in specialist partners who can offer support around programme design, mentoring and the final completion sessions. This might be referred to as Wraparound Support.

Created Specifically for the Food & Drink Manufacturing Sector

The National Skills Academy for Food and Drink in partnership with The Food and Drink Federation have been approved as an official gateway for the Government’s £2bn Kickstart Scheme which will play a key role in rebuilding the UK’s economy and supporting young people into sustainable employment.

As the UK’s largest manufacturing sector, the food and drink industry continues to offer a hugely diverse range of jobs at all skill levels and has remained one of the few industries actively recruiting throughout the pandemic.

Our wrap around support programme has been designed specifically for the food and drink industry and is unique in it’s approach.

All participants who complete their placement through this gateway will receive a food and drink ‘passport’ confirming their readiness to take up a job in the sector, along with an employability programme delivered by Youth Employment UK. It is hoped that many of Kickstart participants will be taken on as apprentices once they have completed their placements.

Our Support

As your Kickstart gateway, we will support you in the following ways. We will take you through the whole journey and make it as easy as possible for you the employer.

Official Kickstart Gateway

We are an official Kickstart Gateway, approved by the Department for Work & Pensions to help food and drink businesses access the scheme.

Free of Charge

Applying through The NSAFD Gateway is free of charge for employers. We will handle the application process with the Government and you will receive 100% of the funding.

Wrap Around Programme

We have created a programme of pre-employment training, pre-apprenticeship training employability skills training specifically for the food and drink sector. This training programme is supported by a readiness to work in the sector certificate on completion.

Employability Training

The individuals you employ will need to be given training on CV, interviews, job search process, in-work support, setting career goals and careers advice. We are working in Partnership with Youth Employment UK to bring you an employability programme that is best in class.

Food & Drink Passport

If you choose to use the NSAFD wrap around programme, once your kickstart employee has completed the online courses, we will provide a certificate for our to prove the individual is ready to work in the Food and Drink sector.

Best Practice

To share best practice we regularly put employers in touch with each other by holding weekly kickstart forums.

Join now and we will support you

The Kickstart Scheme has the potential to greatly support businesses by employing young people fully-funded by the government. However, there are key requirements and to meet them we can help you. Click here to join.

Employer Resources

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