FSB responds to new adjustments to the Kickstart initiative.

Responding to an expected announcement that the UK government is to change the structure of its Kickstart scheme application process, Craig Beaumont, Chief of External Affairs at the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said:

“Kickstart is a vital scheme to help young people suffering unemployment to gain workplace experience and develop new skills at a time when job opportunities are in short supply. Small businesses are ideal environments to develop and nurture the talent of tomorrow’s workforce.

“From the outset, back in September, FSB pressed the government for a direct route for small businesses with one or two kickstart roles to apply. That this finally looks possible is positive, and better late than never.

“At the same time, it is imperative that the government focuses immediately on unsticking the blockages stopping young people starting placements with those small businesses already in the system.

“There are many thousands of roles already approved for small firms through the intermediary route, which until now has been the only way to access the scheme for a business offering fewer than 30 placements.

“Despite headline figures, delays in the current system have meant only a small number of roles have gone to JobCentre Plus and even fewer young people have yet made it through to work in a small business. The government must scale this, and fast.

“The longer a young person goes without workplace experience, the worse it is for both their wellbeing and future job prospects. The focus must be firmly on getting good quality placements in ready-and-willing small businesses up and running swiftly. The single best way for a young person to get a good start in the world of work is through real-world experience.

“We are pleased that the Department for Work and Pensions has reaffirmed its support for the continuation of FSB’s own Kickstart gateway alongside intermediary provider Adecco Working Ventures. This ensures a plurality of options for small businesses, including those who require professional help to make sure placement holders receive a gold-plated level of support and development.

“It is in small businesses where the overwhelming number of jobs are to be found as we look towards economic recovery. Development of both Kickstart and future employment support must be designed from the outset with a firm focus on helping small employers do what they do best – getting people into work and serving their communities.”