More than 19,000 placements for unemployed young people have been created under the government’s £2 billion Kickstart Scheme so far.
The Kickstart Scheme began last week and, according to HMRC, is expected to produce “tens of thousands” more placements in the coming months.
The scheme provides funding to create new job placements for 16 to 24 year olds on Universal Credit who are at risk of long term unemployment.
Some 4,359 employers across Britain have applied to make use of the scheme across a variety of sectors, including in placements in tech, construction, communications, fitness and media.
Businesses including Bloomberg, British Chambers of Commerce, Network Rail, Barnado’s, YMCA, LadBible, Tech Nation, The Royal Mint, KFC, and Farrow & Ball have signed up to the scheme. New applications from employers are being accepted each week.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “Our country’s future will be built by the next generation, so it’s vital that we harness the talent of young people as we rebuild from the pandemic.
“But this isn’t just about kickstarting our economy, we’re giving opportunity and hope to thousands of young people, kickstarting their careers and offering them a brighter future.”
But shadow secretary of state for work and pensions Jonathan Reynolds pointed out the scheme had created opportunities for just 3% of the 600,000 people unemployed.
“The government must be much more ambitious if we are to prevent a generation scarred by long term unemployment,” Reynolds continued.
“It is worrying that months into this jobs crisis we still have no plan from this government to tackle rising unemployment and get Britain back to work.”
The government developed the Kickstart Scheme in response to employment challenges thrown up by the coronavirus pandemic.
Employers of all sizes can apply for the funding, which covers 100% of the National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage, depending on the age of the participant, for 25 hours per week for six months.
The scheme runs until December 2021 and is expected to create more than 250,000 jobs.
Work and Pensions Secretary Thérèse Coffey added: “The pandemic has hit young people hard, but we are doing everything in our power to give them hope and the chance to find their place in the world of work.
“Employers from all corners of the country have signed up, creating thousands of new and interesting jobs and helping us to level up as we build back better.”