The Kickstart Scheme provides funding to employers to create high-quality job placements for 16 to 24 year olds on Universal Credit who are at risk of long-term unemployment.

Employers of all sizes can apply for funding which covers:

Every placement created will also get £1,500 funding to cover setup costs and supporting the young person to develop their employability skills.  Employers can choose someone else to do this for them, such as a Kickstart gateway or service provider.  If these do this, they will have to agree how to share the £1,500 between the representative body and the employer.

The scheme will run up to the end of December 2021.

Apply for a Kickstart Scheme grant

The Kickstart rules have recently changed regarding the 30 placement rule. All employers offering fewer than 30 placements can now either apply directly to DWP or through a gateway.

As a gateway, we handle the finer points of the application process on your behalf meaning you have reduced admin responsibilities. We would support you by checking your application and submitting it to DWP on your behalf, offering you information on local training providers who can support your placement with additional training and discussing options for how the individual can develop following the conclusion of the 6 month placement (e.g. full time role / apprenticeship etc).

Should you wish to apply through us, please email We would be happy to support your application. 

Choose Norfolk County Council as your Kickstart gateway

As a gateway organisation, Norfolk County Council can apply for the Kickstart scheme on your behalf.  This service is free of charge and allows you to focus on day-to-day activities and providing a high-quality placement while we manage the application for you.

Our gateway service is:

  • County-wide:  We cover the whole of Norfolk and know our locality well.

  • Impartial:  We can help you find the right employability and skills provision to support your new Kickstart employee.  We’ll work with our network of training providers to ensure you can access the specific training you need, and our Apprenticeships Norfolk service will provide unbiased guidance on progression to apprenticeships when the time is right.  We have other programmes that can offer you access to a wider choice of training and grants, such as our BEST project which can offer you significant funding for workforce development training and incentive grants for taking on a new young apprentice.

  • Collaborative:  Our model is one of building and maintaining partnerships to benefit employers and participants alike.  We're working with local support agencies in Norfolk and can use our links with organisations such as the Chambers of Commerce and the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership to help you with any wider business needs.  We also work alongside key stakeholders, including the DWP, so we’ll be at the forefront of any new developments as the Kickstart Scheme evolves.

  • Forward looking:  We will ensure that Kickstart is just the beginning of a young-person’s journey to full sustainable employment by supporting progression into further skills training and longer-term, sustainable job opportunities.  As they come to the end of their placement, we'll support the transition from placement in to full-time employment, an apprenticeship or, should they not be able to continue with you, future skills training to continue their training and development.  We want your business and the businesses of Norfolk to fully realise the benefits of the scheme and to feel proud that you are supporting these young people at this incredibly difficult time.

  • Ready: You can download an application form now and submit it to  You can also contact us to express an interest, ask queries or find out more information about the scheme.  Our team has expert knowledge to support you through every stage of the Kickstart process.

What you will do

  • Complete the application form and job description, and return it to
  • Deliver a 6-month, at least 25 hour a week quality placement for a 16-24 year old Universal Credit claimant. 
  • Monitor the employee over the placement period to assess development and progress.
  • Work with the young person to understand and provide the support they need to thrive in their placement.

What we will do for you

  • Gather information from and assess your application form and job description to ensure they align with the DWP's criteria
  • Support you with any additional work on the application that may be required to make it successful.
  • We will then submit the application on your behalf to DWP for their review and formal acceptance on to the scheme (Please note that DWP stipulate that their review and approval may take up to 30 days).
  • Provide you with a menu of employability skills support and our document support package that will help your new Kickstart employees thrive in their new roles;
  • Signpost you to other funding opportunities such as the DWP Flexible Support Fund for other incidental costs associated with creating a new work-placement;
  • Pass on all relevant payments made by DWP to you once they have confirmed the application is successful and subject to their payment schedule
  • Provide you with the necessary support for any application, evidence, finance and evaluation requirements of the Kickstart Scheme. 
  • Work with you to enable continuation of the placements, either through permanent employment or an apprenticeship scheme.

Application and recruitment

Download an application form and submit to  Information about how we use the personal information we collect, and your rights under GDPR, is available at

Kickstart gateway application form

What information do I need to provide about the support?

In your application you need to tell us:

  • What support will be offered (for example, helping them with writing their CV and preparing for an interview)
  • When you will provide this support (for example, halfway through their placement or towards the end)
  • How many hours it will take
  • Who will provide the support (for example, you may already have a pre-existing relationship with training providers)
  • How you will monitor this support
  • How the young person can provide feedback during their placement and afterwards, and how this will be acted on.

When will I know if my application has been successful?

Once you have submitted your application form to us, we'll review the information you have provided.  We may ask you to verify the information you have provided or ask for additional information where necessary.

You should only apply for Kickstart through one representative body.  If you have already applied for a placement through another organisation, you do not need to apply again.

When we have all of the information we need from you we will collate your application with those from other businesses and submit a full application to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) on your behalf.

Please be aware that it will take some time for DWP to review your application and respond.

We cannot guarantee when you will know the result of your application.  If you are successful, we anticipate Kickstart placements to begin working in late-2020 or early-2021.  These timeframes are subject to change depending on the guidance we receive from DWP.

Can I start recruiting for my Kickstart placement(s) in the meantime if I have someone in mind?

The Kickstart scheme is only open to 16 to 24 year olds claiming Universal Credit.  The allocation of Kickstart placements to young people interested in the scheme is handled entirely by Job Centre Plus, not the employer.

If you know someone that is interested in taking part in the scheme and is eligible, you should refer them to their local Job Centre for more information on taking part.

Further information 

Read more about how the Kickstart scheme works at or contact us on

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