Nick Ferrari challenges Therese Coffey over take-up of Kickstart jobs scheme

25 January 2021, 10:15 | Updated: 25 January 2021, 10:30

By Patrick Grafton-Green

The Government’s £2bn Kickstart jobs scheme has been hailed a “huge success” by minister Therese Coffey despite so far helping fewer than 2,000 young people find work.

The Work and Pensions Secretary was challenged by LBC’s Nick Ferrari about the scheme for 16 to 24 year olds, which was launched in September.

Despite creating 120,000 job roles, Nick pointed out to Ms Coffey that just 1,868 placements have actually been started.

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He asked whether Ms Coffey thought the scheme could really be described as a success.

She said: “Yes I do actually Nick."

She insisted the need for Covid-secure environments and training meant "employers may not be ready yet to get the young people on that journey”.

"We’ve actually created with employers, more jobs than was ever created under the Future Jobs Fund and those jobs are there ready and waiting to be filled over the next year," she added.

“That’s why we’re actually making it even simpler for more employers to come and get involved, because we need a pipeline of roles for young people to get started on."

The Department for Work and Pensions creates Kickstart places with businesses, covering 25 hours per week of wages and making £1,500 available to help cover costs.

Ms Coffey said the scheme recognised that young people “have been hardest hit” by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

But she added “some of the impacts of Covid have certainly stopped some of the job starts”.

She said: “We have ambition that by the end of this year a quarter of a million young people will have become Kickstarters and started those roles.

“We have about 10,000 in the system at the moment waiting to be filled, which I expect within the next few weeks. About another 30,000 where I expect them to come on stream in the next four to six weeks as well.

“So while we haven’t had many people starting in the run up to Christmas, that is understandable recognising the preparations and also the wrap around support which needs to be delivered.”