Kickstart Go

Last updated: January 2021

Kickstart is a UK government Scheme that provides funding to employers to create job placements for 16 to 24 year olds. The government will provide a grant to fund the national minimum wage for 25 hours per week for a six month contract plus Employers National Insurance Contributions and automatic enrollment contributions for each candidate placed. 


Here at KickstartGo, we have built this digital platform with the intention of removing all of the hassle and bureaucracy from small businesses who would like to make use of the Kickstart Scheme, but don’t know where to start. Our automated digital portal allows you to manage the whole process easily.

We have tried to collate all of the information you as an employer need to know about the government’s Kickstart Scheme producing this guide that explains:

  • Qualifying criteria you as an employer need to fulfil
  • The application process
  • Job postings and finding candidates
  • Funding payments processing and what to expect including a breakdown of our costs
  • Summary of timelines and expectations

The Kickstart Scheme is a fantastic opportunity for us all to help in investing in young people’s future. We hope that with our help, you will be able to navigate the process seamlessly and let us worry about the administration overhead.

The scheme is available to all businesses that are registered in England, Wales or Scotland.

Please note, this document is not a replacement for, or alternative to, the official notifications, guidelines or other documents published from official sources on the Kickstart Scheme.

What is a representative or gateway and what is their role?

A representative or gateway is approved by the government to act as an intermediary between themselves and employers. Their responsibilities are:

  • Gather information from the employer about job placements they’d like to offer
  • Use this information to apply online on behalf of a group of employers
  • Pay employers the funding
  • Provide additional employability support for candidates

What KickstartGo will do for you as your gateway representative:

  • We will facilitate connecting employers with candidates by collecting all the required information and submitting an application on your behalf
  • Provide employability support for both employers and candidates by offering a wealth of free training available at KickstartGo
  • We will administer the payments processing between the DWP and employer
  • Provide a dedicated mailbox for you to get in touch with

Here at KickstartGo, we recognise that navigating the process can seem quite daunting but that is where we come in. We are here to support you by managing the administration including the payments processing so that you can focus on finding the right candidate.

If you want to get in touch, even if it is just to say hello, you can reach us on

Qualifying criteria you as an employer needs to fulfil

In order to meet the government’s requirements in becoming an employer, checks are performed to show your organisation is established, reputable and financially solvent. You are more likely to be approved if you: 

  • Provide your Companies House reference number or Charity Commission number
  • Your business needs to have been trading for a while
  • Regularly and recently submitted accounts
  • Have a credit score which is a low risk category
  • Have a low probability of imminent business failure
  • Have enough liquid assets to pay your debts
  • Do not have any recent county court judgments (CCJs)

These factors are taken into consideration when the DWP assess your application. Failing one or more does not mean you will not be approved. See the tips for making a successful application on the government site.

Additionally, you will need to provide:
  • Your business address and contact details
  • Supporting information about how the job placements you are offering are new jobs

It is important to note, we need to know that the job placements are for new jobs and do not:

  • Replace existing or planned vacancies
  • Cause existing employees, apprentices or contractors to lose or reduce their employment

You can do this by confirming:

  • There have been no redundancies or changes to hours worked by existing staff in the last 6 months
  • There have been no changes to the size of your overall workforce in the last 6 months apart from normal staff movements
  • That you do not have alternative funding available to you that would normally fund the new positions

As of March 2021, a new employee to placements ratio verification check is applied. This check is used to ensure that the candidates employed are given the support they require by ensuring there are sufficient staff employed by the organisation to provide this. The ratio is tiered as follows:


  • 1 – 3 employees = 1:1 ratio (minimum 1, maximum 3 placements)
  • 4 – 20 employees = 2:1 ratio (minimum 1, maximum 10 placements)
  • 21+ employees = 3:1 (minimum 1, maximum 100 placements)

If the application exceeds the ratio thresholds, then supporting information is required to explain how the employability support will be provided to the candidates.


You also need to confirm that as an employer, you will help develop employability skills of the candidates you employ. Here at KickstartGo, we have a comprehensive set of training packages on offer, the vast majority are free, to help you as an employer fulfil this requirement. To view what is available, please check our KickstartGo website regularly for any updates to what is available to you.

Accepting terms

When you submit your application to us, you will be asked to accept our terms if you agree that you have read the KickstartGo Kickstart Employer Guide (this one) and agree that you meet the qualifying criteria detailed above, and that KickstartGo will act as your Representative Organisation / Intermediary gateway. Please see our online terms and conditions for an up to date version.

Upon the government accepting your role, you will need to sign an additional set of terms and conditions which have been provided by the government that confirms the arrangement between employers and gateways.  This will commence the process of your grant claims from the government. 


The application process

We have tried to streamline the application process by presenting it as a series of questions for you to answer. Your answers will provide the necessary data and with your acceptance of our terms, we will put your application forward.

The series of questions you are asked are grouped into the following sections:

  • Questions about you, your business and contact details
  • We then ask you to confirm that the jobs you are posting are new jobs and that you have read the requirements stipulated by the government
  • Once confirmed, we then ask you for details about the roles you are posting
  • Next is where you confirm what career development advice you will provide to the candidate and also an opportunity to provide any additional information that you feel may help with your application
  • Finally, we ask that you accept our terms and conditions agreeing that KickstartGo will act as your Representative Organisation / Intermediary gateway

As soon as you have completed the online application, it will be processed and included in the current open batch of roles pending submission to the DWP. We have recently moved to a weekly DWP batch submission as requested by the DWP that is scheduled for every Friday morning.

Once your application has been submitted at KickstartGo, you will receive an email containing information on providing additional job information. This is needed so that when we receive the approval notification from the DWP, we are able to get your job description(s) published to the Universal Credit system where work coaches at job centres will match suitable candidates and refer them to apply.

The DWP have informed us that they are taking up to a month to approve applications. We recommend this time is used to provide the additional job information so that when we get the approvals from the DWP, we are in a position to send your job description(s) in for publishing straight away.

Job postings and finding candidates

In order to stand out, we highly recommend that you spend a bit of time writing the job description. Please see our guide on how to write the right job description which will help yours stand out from the crowd.

Once your job postings are submitted, the job descriptions are used by work coaches at Jobcentre Plus to match suitable candidates. This is why it is important to write the right job description that helps you stand out.

Some guidance we have received from the DWP when writing your job description:

  • Make it easy for candidates to apply by removing any perceived barriers. For example, one employer has asked candidates to answer 5 key questions online which saw a great response compared to when they were requesting for cover letters and updated CV’s.
  • Please include additional information that will help your job stand out from the crowd. Include information on what the candidate can expect when they work for you, are there any perks they could benefit from, any qualifications / certifications they could achieve, etc.
  • Consider the age group and demographic you are targeting. For example, they probably don’t know what a fax or cheque is so use terminology that would entice them to apply rather than hitting the delete key.

There are a couple of points to note when providing the additional job information:

  • When setting the closing date for applications, please consider the timings involved and set it to a suitable date in the future. We recommend setting it to a minimum of 6 weeks from today.
  • When setting the maximum number of referrals, we are seeing a “hit rate” of referrals to applications of around 10:1 so would recommend setting this to a minimum of 15. 
Both of these values can be updated later on in the process but it does cause unnecessary delays.

DWP application outcome – approved or declined

The DWP conduct their due diligence on applications submitted and will either approve or decline the application. If the application is approved, the employer will receive an email requesting that they confirm they have provided the additional job information and to digitally sign the terms and conditions.

Once the digital signature is completed, we will send the job descriptions to the DWP for publishing to the Universal Credit system. The DWP are taking 1-2 weeks to publish roles.

Once published, work coaches at the Jobcentre’s will match suitable candidates and refer them to apply.

For each referral, you will receive an email containing the candidates name, an Introduction ID and instructions on what you need to do when placing a candidate.

The employer will then be able to interview suitable candidates that apply for their jobs and in doing so, will hopefully find suitable candidates.

Funding will only be given if a young person is hired using the Kickstart Scheme process.

KickstartGo publishes all vacancies from our current employers on the website, to help candidates find roles which interest them.  If the candidate finds a role directly listed, they should take the details of the vacancy to their Work Coach at their Jobcentre Plus who will refer them to apply.

After a job placement ends, and this can be before the six month period is over, the employer can get another Kickstart Scheme young person to start another job placement.


Placing a candidate and what you need to do

Once a candidate is placed, there are two things the employer needs to do within the first week of the candidates start date:

  1. Notify the DWP as per the instructions contained in the referral email of the placement start date, the candidates name and their Introduction ID. This is needed so that the DWP can process the funding and send the initial £1,500 funding payment.
  2. Update your job records in our platform with the same information. This is needed so that we can reconcile the funding received from the DWP with the placement and pass the funding on to the employer.

How Does KickstartGo Help

The KickstartGo platform simplifies the process of hiring through the Kickstart Scheme by providing a unique employer portal. 
  • After you register your application with us using one simple form, you will get access to the employer portal where you can manage your jobs, and see how the process is progressing.  
  • We also provide a whole host of free training for your employee in the specific areas that the government has requested candidates are trained in. This means that your generic training requirements are taken care of by sending the candidates to our website and carrying out the training we provide. 
  • KickstartGo will also be providing more specific training via webinars in topics such as Social Media, Digital Marketing and Administration, providing another level of training to your employees. 

Funding payments processing and what to expect including a breakdown of our costs

Please note, the DWP operate a reimbursement model so the employer needs to have sufficient cashflow to cover the wages payment that will then be reimbursed by the DWP.


Kickstart Scheme wages and related costs for employers

Kickstart scheme wages and costs are paid to the gateway who passes it directly on to the employer. This fund covers:

Employers can pay a higher wage and for more hours over the above if they so wish but the funding would not cover this.

As soon as your employee commences their employment with you, you will be able to request your administration fee from the government. This payment will be made approximately 10 working days after the request has been submitted.  The employee’s wages will be paid automatically approximately six weeks after this initial payment, and monthly thereafter for the duration of the grant.

NOTE: DWP will use information from HMRC to check that the young person is employed and their wages paid through the employer’s payroll. The grant funding to pay the young person’s salary will be paid in monthly arrears when the DWP know they are:

  • enrolled on the employer’s payroll
  • being paid through Pay As You Earn (PAYE)

£1,500 employer candidate placement grant

Every job placement receives £1,500 funding for setup costs and supporting the young person to develop their employability skills.  


The funding must be used in respect of “Eligible Expenditure”.  This includes:  

  • set up costs for IT equipment and software licences, administration and management time and support with helping Participants develop work skills and experience (employability support)
  • any uniform, equipment and Personal Protective Equipment as required; and

‘Employability Support’ may include on-the-job training, work search support, skills development, mentoring, careers advice and other related support to help Participants find sustained employment after they have completed the Kickstart Scheme.

Eligible Expenditure also includes fees charged or to be charged to the Grant Recipient by external auditors/accountants for reporting/certifying that the Grant paid was applied for its intended purposes.

More information on Eligible Expenditure can be found here.

This payment is made once the candidate starts their placement.


£300 KickstartGo candidate placement grant

Kickstart gateways will all receive a one-off £300 payment per placement to cover the administration costs.

This payment is made once the candidate starts their placement.

Funding and costs summary

Funding KickstartGo Receives Employer Receives
Employer candidate placement grant – £1,500   £1,500
KickstartGo candidate placement grant – £300 £300
Employee wages   100% National minimum wage
Employer National Insurance contributions
Employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions


Summary of timelines and expectations

Placing a candidate timeline

To set expectations, the process is currently taking 8 – 12 weeks before being able to place any candidates in your roles. The summary of the various stages is as follows:


  • Every Friday we submit a batch of applications to the DWP. 
  • The DWP will then conduct their due diligence on the submitted applications and either approve or decline it. They have informed us that they will take up to a month to complete this process. From past submissions, we are seeing this is currently taking 3 – 7 weeks.
  • Once we receive the roles approval notification from the DWP, we request employers to confirm that you have completed their job description edits and to digitally sign terms and conditions. 
  • As soon as employers have digitally signed the terms and conditions, we send the job descriptions to the DWP for publishing to the Universal Credit system. From what we are seeing, this is currently taking 1 – 2 weeks.
  • Once a job is published to the Universal Credit system, work coaches at the various Jobcentre’s will match suitable candidates and refer them to apply for your role. Any candidates that apply, will then go through the employers standard selection and hiring process.
Payments processing timeline
It is important to note, the DWP operate a reimbursement model so as an employer, you need to ensure you have the cashflow available to pay the candidates wages before being reimbursed.
  • 10 working days from candidate start date, the initial £1,500 remittance is issued. We are seeing that it is taking up to 4 days from remittance issued to the actual funds arriving. When it does arrive, we pass it straight on to the employer.
  • 6 weeks from candidate start date, the DWP will take up to 10 days to check with HMRC to ensure the candidate is paid through your payroll (PAYE) and will then issue the reimbursement payment to cover wages + NI + auto enrolment contributions.
  • 4 weeks later and every month thereafter, the reimbursement payment is made following the HMRC checks.



What else should I know?

You can have as many Kickstart Employees as you think your business needs (providing the roles are high quality new jobs). At the end of the 6 month placement, it is up to you as the employer what to do next – there is no obligation. For example you could retain your candidate and offer them a permanent role at the same or more hours, or you could simply end the employment. You could also reapply for another Kickstart candidate for the next 6 months. 

You must adhere to normal employment and business practices, and provide all the relevant employment contracts, health and safety requirements etc. in your work place. 

The scheme runs until December 2021 for new applications and closes for any candidates employed on 31 December 2021 on the 30 June 2022.

You can find all the government information here: