Applications open for small businesses to kickstart young people’s employment

Press Releases 21 Sep 2020
  • FSB as Kickstart national gateway teams up with Adecco Working Ventures to help small firms access government’s Kickstart Scheme
  • FSB urges small employers to consider applying now, to create Kickstart roles from November and tackle looming rise in young people’s unemployment

To tackle increasing numbers of young people aged 16-24 struggling to find work and on Universal Credit, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has announced today (21 September) a new partnership with Adecco Working Ventures. Together, they will form a new national gateway and intermediary partner for the UK Government’s new Kickstart Scheme, which covers England, Scotland and Wales. FSB will also be delivering a programme of webinars and other resources to encourage, inspire and help small businesses to get involved and make the most of the new Scheme. This gateway is available to all small business employers, not just to FSB members.

Alongside local authorities, business organisations and the voluntary sector, FSB is also calling for a diversity of intermediary providers at local level. This way, any small business wishing to create one or two roles will have a choice of good-quality providers to deliver the important wrap-around support services that these young people are going to need. Small firms are ready to step up and contribute jobs for our young people, whose livelihoods are now threatened by COVID-19.

The UK unemployment rate has risen to its highest level for two years, with official figures showing those aged 16 to 24 suffering the biggest drop in employment compared with other age groups.

Small employers in our communities have a strong record of introducing ambitious young people into workplaces, such as through apprenticeships where 92 per cent of small business apprenticeships are held by those under the age of 25. The Kickstart Scheme offers a new route into the workplace to gain practical hands-on experience.

FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry said, “The UK’s small businesses are the biggest private employer in Britain, and are proven to offer more career and employment opportunities to those furthest from work, such as the long-term unemployed and young people who are not in employment, training or education.

“At this critical time, we have successfully worked with government to develop the new Kickstart Scheme, and help small employers to be part of the solution. I want to thank the Department for Work and Pensions and HM Treasury teams for being open to our suggestions on Kickstart, which will help thousands of young people in local communities currently struggling to find work. 

“FSB will now be a national gateway, working in partnership with Adecco Working Ventures. This will be alongside local authorities and others to create lots of choices to access the Scheme. Small businesses have been keen to take part, and today’s announcement means that they can now do so with confidence that the support needed for both the employer, and the young person, will be in place.”

Sean Williams, Director, Adecco Working Ventures, said, “We are delighted to have worked with FSB to create this partnership. We will be helping make the Kickstart programme a success for small businesses and for young people. By making it easy for small businesses to access the scheme we will significantly increase the number of opportunities available for young people.”

Rt Hon Thérèse Coffey MP, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, said: "Small businesses are absolutely vital to our recovery as we build back better and a key part of the Kickstart Scheme. It’s great to have the Federation of Small Businesses and Adecco Working Ventures supporting them to take full advantage of our landmark Kickstart Scheme by becoming a national Kickstart gateway

“SMEs in communities across the country can submit their applications through FSB with the confidence that they’ll be supported throughout the process, and able to ensure each young person makes a success of their Kickstart role. I encourage all small businesses to see if a Kickstart placement could benefit their workplace.”

The Kickstart scheme was announced by as part of The Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak’s ‘Plan for Jobs’, in July, with the aim of helping 250,000 16-24-year olds on Universal Credit into work placement.

Small employers in England, Scotland and Wales who are keen to offer a Kickstart role to a young person can now register at


Notes to editors

  1. The ONS’s latest release shows the need for Kickstart. Employment of those aged 16 to 24 years decreased in the last quarter by 156,000 people, while unemployment in the same age group increased by 76,000 since the same point last year. The largest increases are in those unemployed for up to six months. The claimant count for those receiving unemployment benefits has risen since March by 120.8% - 1.5 million people – to 2.7 million people.
  2. The Government has said: The Kickstart Scheme provides funding to employers to create new 6-month job placements for young people who are currently on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment. This is part of the government’s Plan for Jobs and aims to create hundreds and thousands of new, fully funded jobs across England, Scotland and Wales. The first placements are likely to be available from November. Funding will cover for each job placement:
    • 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week
    • the associated employer National Insurance contributions
    • employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions
  3. There will also be extra funding to support young people to build their experience and help them move into sustained employment after they have completed their Kickstart Scheme funded job.
  4. Findings about the positive role small businesses play in offering employment to young people, those with low educational attainment and others that are furthest away from the labour market can be found in the FSB report Small Business, Big Heart: Bringing Communities Together (2019).
  5. FSB’s programme of regional and national webinars and other virtual events for small businesses can be found at
  6. While Kickstart is not currently available in Northern Ireland, FSB is speaking to the Executive to assess options of what might be introduced.

About FSB

As the UK’s largest business support group, FSB is the voice of the UK’s small businesses and the self-employed. Established over 40 years ago to help its members succeed in business, FSB is a non-profit making and non-party political organisation that’s led by its members, for its members. As the UK’s leading business campaigner, FSB is focused on delivering change which supports smaller businesses to grow and succeed.

FSB offers members a wide range of vital business services, including access to finance, business banking, legal advice and support along with a powerful voice in Government. Each year FSB also runs the UK’s Celebrating Small Business Awards. More information is available at You can follow us on twitter @fsb_policy and on Instagram @fsb_uk.

About Adecco Working Ventures

Adecco Working Ventures is a new Joint Venture, between Adecco – one of the world’s largest staffing groups, and Corndel – the UK’s fastest growing vocational training company, created to help get Britain back to work. Adecco Working Venture’s aim is to support 500,000 people into employment in the next five years, to drive the recovery and ensure meaningful work is a possibility for everyone. Its senior management team has decades of experience in helping employers grow their businesses by recruiting the right people and have supported over one million unemployed people back into work. 

Media contacts

Kerry Curtis
Brand Public Relations Manager
Email: [email protected]
Telephone: 07815 537 657

Matt Dickinson
Senior Media and Communications Advisor
Email: [email protected]
Telephone: 07525 801 773