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The Investment Association to act as the industry convener for the Government’s Kickstart scheme

BACKGROUND

Whilst coronavirus might not be such a threat to the health of our young people it has disproportionately impacted on their employment prospects. At the IA, and across our industry, we are doing everything we can to continue to provide high quality opportunities for young people at this testing time. This includes launching a bespoke solution to permit the investment management industry to support the Government’s Kickstart initiative, which you may recall was launched by the Chancellor in his ‘Plan for Jobs’, and is being administered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

The purpose of the Kickstart scheme is to help young people (16-24) who are on Universal Credit and at risk of long term unemployment by providing six-month work placements. This is an opportunity for our industry to respond to the Government’s call to help young people, and it has the added benefit of driving a more diverse pool of talent into our industry’s early career schemes.

SOLUTION

To participate in Kickstart, employers are required to provide a minimum of 30 placements and for most industry firms this is not possible. As the industry’s trade body, the IA will enable members to take part by acting as an industry representative group and Kickstart provider, so that collectively as an industry we reach the minimum of 30 placements. We will contract directly with the DWP on behalf of the industry. Investment20/20 will further support participating firms by integrating industry knowledge and skills training into the delivery of these programmes drawing on our award winning pre-employment, Think Investments programme.

DETAIL

Participating firms will offer six-month work placements for a minimum of 25 hours a week. The roles need to be ‘new’ i.e. not replacing people who have been furloughed or made redundant. Firms will also need to be able to demonstrate how they will develop the young person’s employability skills and Investment20/20 will assist with this.

The DWP has allocated a £2 billion fund for Kickstart, but participating investment management firms will not accept taxpayers’ money, as our industry will self-fund the scheme by paying the London Living Wage, alongside the associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions. Tesco, for example, are self-funding their Kickstart programme.

As the Kickstart programme is scheduled to close at the end of 2021, we are recommending that firms start their six-month Kickstart work placements in the spring giving you sufficient time to decide where the roles will sit. The recruitment process will involve drafting job description(s), which Investment20/20 will assist you with. All participants will be sourced directly from Job Centre Plus (JCP) and you will be assigned a JCP case worker with whom you will work directly when it comes to sourcing the candidates. The DWP is allowing a significant degree of flexibility in the recruitment process, size of applicant pool and there is no constraint on the type of roles members can recruit for. Details of the job(s) is not required at this point but rather a commitment to take on one/two ‘Kickstarters’.

NEXT STEPS

While we have reached the required roles and will be lodging the application with DWP shortly, we are still encouraging more firms to get involved and offer work placements. Karis Stander, MD of Investment20/20, would be delighted to discuss this further and may be reached via [email protected].