Kickstart Scheme – helping the construction sector bounce back

A new government-backed skills programme has real potential to inject fresh talent into the construction sector, argues Kimberly Murphy.

Announced over the summer, the chancellor’s Kickstart Scheme aims to help the young and long-term unemployed into the world of work. For employers it offers a unique opportunity to mould new skills and will mean the construction and engineering industry can bounce back with fresh ideas and young talent.

The Kickstart Scheme is a fully funded programme which means there is no cost to the employer. As well as 100% of the minimum wage for 25 hours a week, employers receive National Insurance contributions, minimum enrolment contributions and a £1,500 incentive for every placement. All of this adds up to an attractive package for employers looking to the next generation.

However, with a minimum of 30 placements required in order to access the scheme, many firms, especially smaller and medium sized ones, will be excluded. With this in mind, the Technical Apprenticeship Consortium (TAC) is now offering ACE and EIC members the opportunity to join its collective programme. This means companies can offer a single or handful of roles, rather than the full 30 placements. In addition, TAC will act as the intermediary and can help with the recruitment, mentoring and auditing of applicants on to the scheme. 

There are some more specifics that employers need to be aware of. Candidates must be aged between 16 and 24, sourced via a job centre and be on universal credit. The position must be a new role and not replace an existing employee or a redundant role. 

In return employers will be expected to support Kickstarters to find long-term work. This could mean career advice, CV building and interview skills, but also developing basic employment skills such as good attendance, timekeeping, and teamwork. Employers will also be interested to know that those on a Kickstart Scheme can progress internally to a new role, or even onto an apprenticeship if all goes well. 

All of this means that even the smallest companies can get involved in this unique scheme which offers young talent an opportunity within our sector. While they will not necessarily have the ready-made skills and experience, they will bring with them a new enthusiasm for work, new ideas, and will allow companies to nurture a new generation into the workforce. Through your company’s expert guidance, many of the Kickstarters will eventually be able to find new roles – whether within your company or elsewhere.

Click here for more information on the Kickstart Scheme. To discuss the scheme and the opportunities in more detail, contact Kimberly Murphy at

Kimberly Murphy is apprenticeship account manager at the Technical Apprenticeship Consortium (TAC).