Government set to extend Kickstart scheme and £3000 apprentice bonus

Government set to extend Kickstart scheme and £3000 apprentice bonus

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced the Kickstart scheme will be extended and companies who hire new apprentices will continue to receive cash incentives.

Kickstart, which supports businesses that employ 16 to 24-year-olds on Universal Credit, will now continue until March 2022.

Businesses will also be able to claim £3,000 for each apprentice they hire until 31 January 2022, the deadline being extended from 30 September 2021.

Speaking at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester, Sunak said: “The job is not done yet and I want to make sure our economy is fit for the future and that means providing the support and skills people need to get into work and get on in life.”

Recently published figures showed only 76,900 young people have started in Kickstart jobs despite 196,300 roles being made available.

Chief executive of the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) Neil Carberry said: “It is good news that the government are going to extend some of the pandemic support schemes - this kind of targeted support is much needed for people who have been out of work for some time, and recruiters are playing their part in the scheme.

“However, the Kickstart scheme has only helped a limited number of people so far, and even with the extension it will still expire in early 2022.

“Government need to be thinking further ahead than that and working in collaboration with industry experts in a joint forum to solve labour market issues in both the short and longer term."

These announcements form part of the government's £500m extension to their plan for jobs. This includes support those leaving the furlough scheme and helping people over the age of 50 get back into the workplace.

Ben Willmott, head of public policy at the CIPD, said: “We welcome the extra support announced to help people find work and boost training by extending schemes, such as Kickstart and the apprentice incentive payments for employers, into 2022. 

“However there do need to be other significant changes to skills policy, to really have an impact on skills and access to work.

"Improving the quality of careers advice for young people, reforming the Apprenticeship Levy and increasing investment to support life-long learning are also key areas for review and much needed investment. 

“The Chancellor’s speech also left a large question mark over how the Government plans to help the UK transition to a high-wage, high skill economy and reduce the need for immigration to address rising skill and labour shortages."

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