More than 500 organisations have registered as intermediaries under the Government’s landmark Kickstart Scheme, it has been announced.

The report comes after it was revealed that small employers could not access the initiative unless they applied through a larger third-party, such as a Local Authority or Chamber of Commerce.

Launched this month, employers can apply for funding to cover 100 per cent of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus associated employer National Insurance Contributions (NICs) and employer minimum auto-enrolment pension contributions, of six-month job placements for 16-to-24-year-olds.

While employers will have to top up wages where more hours are required, the Government will pay businesses £1,500 to set up support and training for people on a Kickstart placement, as well as helping pay for uniforms and other set up costs.

However, employers creating less than 30 placements are required to combine their application with other small businesses and apply through an intermediary.

While the Government said this step will make the process “easier and less labour intensive to apply for these smaller companies who only want to hire one or two Kickstarters”, there were concerns that not enough intermediaries would register to cope with demand.

But the latest figures reveal that now more than 500 bodies, including the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), have signed up to serve as a ‘gateway’ to the £2 billion programme.

Commenting on the scheme, Work and Pensions Secretary Thérèse Coffey said: “Our growing list of gateways will make it easier for smaller employers to find their local gateways, who will support their application and help provide wrap-around support for the young people who get onto the scheme.”

FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry added: “Small businesses are embedded in local communities, and disproportionately take on those who face barriers when finding work.  The Kickstart initiative marks a crucial intervention, with young people’s job prospects now hit particularly hard by COVID-19, and small businesses under significant pressure. It will help small firms create thousands of good quality opportunities for young people at risk of long term unemployment.”

The full list of gateways can be found here.

For support applying for funding under the Kickstart Scheme, please get in touch with our expert team today.