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Government launches £2 billion Kickstart work programme
2 September 2020, 00:01 | Updated: 2 September 2020, 21:52
The government has launched its £2 billion Kickstart work scheme which aims to help young people into employment.
It is hoped the programme will create thousands of new jobs across the UK following the strains put on the labour market by the coronavirus pandemic.
The scheme will help those who are on Universal Credit and between the ages of 16-24 will be offered six-month-long work placements, with wages paid by the government.
Work and Pensions Secretary Thérèse Coffey told LBC's Nick Ferrari any employer can apply to the scheme.
She added: "In essence, they take a young person on, they get paid the amount of money for 25 hours of work and they'll get some extra money as employers to help young people make the extra training or other support they need so after six months they are in a much better place having got that work experience."
Explaining how it works, she added: "It's a targeted intervention so for some young people they may be heading off into apprenticeships or traineeships, this is another strand to that.
"It's beneficial for businesses because these are new additional jobs which we will effectively pay for, but we recognise the challenges that young people face as a result of this coronavirus and the impact on the economy."
There were almost 538,000 young people aged 24 or below on the benefit payment as of July, an increase of roughly 250,000 from March.
Firms will be free to use the scheme from Wednesday onwards, while the government will help businesses train and support newcomers by paying the employers £1,500.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: "This isn't just about kickstarting our country's economy - it is an opportunity to kickstart the careers of thousands of young people who could otherwise be left behind as a result of the pandemic.
"The scheme will open the door to a brighter future for a new generation and ensure the UK bounces back stronger as a country."
Therese Coffey, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, said: "As we launch our £2 billion Kickstart programme, putting young people at the heart of our revival - we are urging businesses to get involved in this innovative scheme and take advantage of the enormous pool of potential out there.
"Young people taking part will receive on-the-job training, skills development and mentoring, as we get them on that first rung of the jobs ladder and on their way to successful careers."
The government will also pay 100% of the National Minimum Wage, dependent on age, National Insurance and pension contributions for 25 hours a week for those on the Kickstart programme.
Major employers such as Tesco have signed up to offer roles through the scheme, it said.
Kickstart, which will be delivered by the Department for Work and Pensions, will initially be open until December 2021.