BY AMY COLES
THOUSANDS of job hunters applying for the government’s flagship scheme to help young workers have been left in limbo as employers are told to pull ads.
In July Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the £2billion Kickstart scheme, aimed at getting hundreds of thousands of unemployed 16-24-year-olds into work.
Under the scheme the government will subsidise the wage costs for young people claiming Universal Credit who are hired by employers for six-month work placements.
Employers should have been able to apply for the scheme this month but now some have been told to stop advertising jobs until a start date is confirmed.
Some recruitment sites say they have removed adverts and slam the government for not giving employers a date for when they can apply, reports This is Money.
Charlie Johnson, CEO of graduate recruitment firm Brighter Box, told the Sun they’ve been inundated with requests from job applicants.
He said: “We wrote a quick overview of what we knew about the scheme for our website and were subsequently inundated with loads of requests for further information.
“I’ve spoken with several employers who are hoping to take advantage of the scheme – some of whom are looking to hire tens of sales people on a 25 hour per week basis (i.e. the amount that the government will be funding these positions).
“But we haven’t run with any of the twenty or so requests we’ve had so far to advertise roles as companies are awaiting further news”
Kickstart was announced as part of an emergency package to try and limit the unemployment caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Resolution Foundation has forecast the scheme will help find jobs for around 350,000 youngsters in that age group.
A DWP spokesperson said:
“It’s fantastic that so many employers, like Tesco, already want to sign up to our £2 billion Kickstart scheme, and we’ll be publishing further details on how they can shortly.
“Until then, we urge employers to be patient and to not start advertising roles they want to be covered by the scheme just yet – there’s no cap on Kickstart places available, so no-one will miss out.”
Dire forecasts from experts have predicted more than a million youngsters will be out of work this year.
Think-tank the Institute for Public Policy Research said 410,000 18 to 24-year-olds were already jobless.
And it forecast 620,000 more would be out of work in the next six months.
Meanwhile, unemployment as a whole could treble to reach three million, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has predicted.
The predicted 1.03million total would be the highest since comparable records began in 1992.
The scheme will cover 100 per cent of the minimum wage for a maximum of 25 hours a week — with firms able to top up wages.
For example, young people between 21 and 24 years old on minimum wage currently earn £8.20 an hour, working out as £205 for 25 hours.
It comes as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has warned that the unemployment rate could reach 15 per cent if a second virus wave hits.
Roughly 9.3million workers in the UK have been furloughed due to the pandemic.