Incentives announced to help employers bridge skills gaps and create opportunities for young people

One of key new measures announced was the ‘kickstart’ jobs scheme, where businesses will be paid to create new jobs for 16-24 year-olds who are at risk of long-term unemployment. The roles must offer new recruits at least 25 hours per week on the National Minimum Wage or above for six months, and they must be good quality jobs that will have a real impact on the organisation and the economy. The employer must also provide training and support to help the young person find a permanent role once the six-month placement comes to an end.

Providing all of these conditions are met, the government will pay the employee’s wages for the full six months, and cover the overheads. It’s hoped that once organisations see the benefits that the newly created roles have on productivity and their bottom line, they will be more inclined to make the temporary, six-month position permanent.

Businesses can apply for the scheme from August, with the first ‘kickstarters’ expected to be in jobs from the Autumn. There will be no cap on the places available, so firms will be free to create as many new positions as they like – so long as they all meet the eligibility criteria listed above. The scheme is a real opportunity for companies to bring in fresh talent and be opened up to new perspectives and innovative ways of thinking.

Traineeships and apprenticeships set to play a key part in building back the economy

As Managing Director of GC Education & Skills, I welcome the further announcement that incentives are being offered to organisations to encourage them to create new apprenticeships and traineeships for young people.

The Chancellor is also calling for employers to take on more trainees, with £1000 being offered to businesses for every new trainee that they take on. This will help to triple the number of traineeships available to young people.

£100bn is being invested to create more places on level 2 and level 3 courses, to support 18-19 year-olds to find work in high-demand sectors – such as engineering, construction and social care. These are areas where there are significant and immediate skills gaps, so the new proposals could help businesses within these sectors to quickly reduce skills shortages.

Employers can also expect apprenticeship incentives in the immediate future. The government has announced that for the next six months, it will pay businesses £2000 per apprentice recruited into the firm. Similar to the kickstarter scheme, these must be newly created opportunities.

For businesses looking to recruit a more mature apprentice, they will receive a bonus of £1500 for apprentices hired who are over the age of 25. This means they can upskill an existing member of staff in a brand new role, or look to bring in someone who perhaps has a few years of experience behind them on a higher-level programme. It’s a win-win situation, as you’ll receive a financial reward for boosting skills within your business.

The great thing about apprenticeships is that you can make them fit your business – so whether you’re looking to grow a specific team, introduce a new department or are looking at ways to futureproof your business, apprenticeships can be tailored to suit the needs of your organisation.

Bringing staff back from furlough

It’s important to remember that the job retention scheme will wind down – albeit flexibly – between now and October, so you need to think about ways in which you can start bringing employees back into your business if you can. To help safeguard jobs and encourage employers to explore all options, the government will pay you a £1000 bonus for each employee that you bring back from furlough and keep employed until at least January, providing they are paid a minimum of £520 per month on average from November to January.

How Employ GM can help your business

If you’re thinking about how your business can benefit from the incentives announced on Wednesday, Employ GM can provide you with access to a range of support to help you understand how the schemes could work for your business.

Whether you want advice about safeguarding jobs and bringing staff back from furlough, support to reshape your business and create new roles, or you need help finding an apprentice or trainee, the team is here to help.

Learn more about the package of support available to all businesses across Greater Manchester to help them recover and bounce back from the Covid-19 pandemic.