Government Kickstart Scheme FAQ’s

Many thanks for all questions raised throughout the Kickstart Scheme process so far. We have worked with the Department for Work and Pensions to give you the answers to your questions below.

Universal Credit

If a participant is accepted on the scheme, will their Universal Credit be reduced in any way?
To qualify to take up a Kickstart placement, the candidate needs to be aged 16-24 and be in receipt of Universal Credit. (School leavers aged 16-18, and not employed, can also be eligible). When the candidate takes up the placement their Universal Credit claim will be re-assessed based on their earnings and their individual circumstances. Each participant’s circumstances will be different and therefore the Universal Credit payment can vary from person to person. Universal Credit was introduced to simplify the system and allow work- pay for everyone, whether it is a part time or full time job.

What should happen to the participants Universal Credit once the placement finishes?
We are very much hoping that a participant enters employment following the end of their 6 months on the scheme, and that this experience will teach them valuable skills that opens up a world of employment opportunities. Because Universal Credit is paid in real time, if the participant ends their placement without getting a job then the Universal Credit system will realise that they now have no earnings, and will immediately renew their Universal Credit claim in full. Universal Credit is linked to HMRC through the Real Time information system-it knows when a recipient has had monthly or no earnings, and will adjust the Universal Credit payment each month to reflect that.

Should a young person be encouraged to sign up for Universal Credit so that they can access the scheme and/or a placement?
To be eligible for Universal Credit a young person must be either out of work, or on low income. The target audience of the Kickstart Scheme is those who have been on Universal Credit for 6 months or more and deemed likely to become long-term unemployed. Recipients of Universal Credit can be referred before 6 months, but only if the candidate has a poor or no work history. It will be the responsibility of the Department of Work and Pensions Work Coach to assess each individual’s circumstances and decide whether they meet the criteria to take part in the Kickstart Scheme. For this reason, a young person making a claim for Universal Credit would not automatically make them eligible for a Kickstart Scheme placement, as other considerations are also taken into account.
For more information on Universal Credit visit


The Government website states that the scheme is designed for applicants “who are at risk of long-term unemployment”. Who decides this for each applicant?
Each recipient of Universal Credit will have been appointed a Work Coach based in their nearest Jobcentre, when they first made their Universal Credit claim. The role of the Jobcentre Work Coach is to support that individual to overcome any barriers they may have for getting into work. It will be the Work Coach who will determine whether a claimant is at risk of becoming long term un-employed. This decision will take into account a number of factors, such as recent work history, the skill set of the individual, the local labour market and any barriers the individual may have getting into employment. Not all young people on Universal Credit will qualify to take part in the Kickstart Scheme, which is why the role of the Work Coach is so important-they identify those who fit the criteria for the scheme.

If a participant withdraws from the scheme- what is the process and who do we notify?
If a participant withdraws from the scheme please notify us immediately, the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce on As your Gateway we will update the Department for Work and Pensions immediately.

Who is the local contact if something goes wrong or the Employer has concerns? E.g. If someone does not turn up to work?
If there are any concerns big or small regarding a placement please notify us immediately, the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce on As your Gateway we will liaise with the Department for Work and Pensions immediately and if possible, aim to find a solution.

Kickstart Scheme Process

Do I need a Companies House registration number?
At this moment in time, one of the criteria for the scheme is that the Employer must have a Companies House registration number for the Department for Work and Pensions to appropriately consider the placement. If they do not have this, then the placement will be rejected. We will also be required to make any payments to a matching business bank account. However, we strongly recommend Employers without Companies House registration numbers (such as Sole Traders) complete the form anyway. That way we have details on file to inform Employers, should the scheme open up to them.

An employer has a participant they have already interviewed, and the participant is waiting to start. How does this work going forward?
As much as we appreciate businesses forward thinking, it is the Jobcentre who identifies suitable candidates for your job placement. Kickstart Scheme placements will only be advertised on the Universal Credit system and only Department for Work and Pension employees have access to this system. This is to ensure a fair and consistent process and to ensure only eligible candidates can be put forward for the placements.

When do we provide a Job Description? How is this process going to work?
Once Employer applications are approved by the Department for Work and Pensions, we will ask each Employer to provide a job description for each of their placements (one matching each job title they are advertising). This will then be listed on the Universal Credit system for Jobcentre Work Coaches to both see, and identify, suitable candidates to put forward for the placement.

Can an Employer advertise Kickstart Scheme placements on their own website?
Bigger corporations such as Tesco are advertising Kickstart Placements on their own websites due to the fact they have taken no Government funding. The Department for Work and Pensions would want all Kickstart Scheme placements to be advertised via their internal Universal Credit site only to ensure only eligible candidates are put forward for the roles. If you are advertising through your own site, please ensure that any applicants:

  • Are on Universal Credit
  • Are aged between 18-24
  • Have a Jobcentre Work Coach who will verify that they can apply

If the above is not in place, then the candidate will be rejected and no Kickstart Scheme payments will be made.

What Jobcentres in Kent will have access to my Kickstart placements on the Universal Credit system?
All Jobcentres in Kent will have access to the vacancies. Here are the current Jobcentre locations in Kent: Tonbridge, Maidstone, Chatham, Ashford, Canterbury, Ramsgate, Margate, Dover, Folkestone, Dartford, Gravesend, Sittingbourne & Sheerness.

Please continue to send in your questions!
We are in constant liaison with the Department for Work and Pensions who are more than happy to answer any queries you may have.
We will continually add to this FAQ page, so please check back here regularly to see if your query has been answered.

To deliver this countywide Kickstart programme we have partnered with all of Kent’s Further Education Colleges; EKC Group, MidKent & North Kent.

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