Kickstart scheme vs Apprenticeship scheme. What’s best for your business?

When mentoring entrepreneurs and business owners I always get asked the same question, ‘I need help in my business but I don’t know where to start, can you help?!’ kickstart scheme 

Many small business owners are running themselves ragged, they know they need help but are worried about all the implications that means; legal, employment law, recruiting, training etc but the one thing they are worried about most is the cost of said help, which is of course understandable.

This is where programmes like the Kickstart scheme or apprentices can come in.

I have built all three of my businesses with the help of apprentices and it is something I talk about A LOT, and when the kickstart scheme was announced on the 8th July 2020 I knew that it would be a lifeline for so many small businesses.

So let’s look into what both the options offer and see if either of them would work for you and your business.


Kickstart Scheme


What is a kickstart scheme?


A kickstart scheme is where the government covers 100% of the employment cost. For young people, 16-24 years old, who are currently claiming universal credit and are at a risk of long term unemployment.  

The kickstart scheme aims to create thousands of roles, for a six month work placement on the basis of 25 hours a week.

Their salary will be covered at the appropriate minimum wage, as well as national insurance and pension. 

Funding can only be used to employ participants in new jobs. Kick-starters can’t replace existing or planned vacancies. They can’t cause existing employees, apprentices, or contractors to lose work or reduce their working hours.

All jobs supported by grant funding must provide regular work for the participants for a minimum of 25 hours a week. 

You will help participants to develop their skills and experiences to find work with you, or another employer after completing the kickstart scheme. 

You’ll get £1500 per job placement which will cover support and employment skills. 

What will the funding cover?

For funded activities, which can be IT equipment, software, administration, time management, and employment support. 

It can also be used for any uniform required, and the payment of the relevant minimum wage for 25 hours a week of work for 6 months by each participant. Plus employer national insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contribution. 

The grant recipient must not claim or receive any other crown funding for the participant, including any other crown funding for the participant, including reimbursement of statutory sick pay or payments under the coronavirus job retention scheme or job support scheme.


What is employment support?


Employment support can be; on the job training, mentoring, helping the employee develop skills. 

It could also be giving careers advice, other related support to help participants find sustained employment after they’ve completed the kickstart scheme. 


How to apply for the kickstart scheme?


You can apply online yourself or apply through a kickstart gateway who is already working with the kickstart scheme. 

Kickstart gateway will gather information about the job placements you’d like to offer. Share the information on your behalf with DWP. 

They may also offer support to the young people in the job placement. 

You’ll need to provide your company’s house reference number, charity commission number or office of the scottish charity regulator number, if you have one, organisation address and contact details, as well as details of the job placement and location. 

If successful, you or kickstart gateway will give DWP a job description that work coaches at job centres plus will use to match candidates to the job placements. 

You will receive email notification each time a young person is referred to job placement. 

Referred candidates may choose to apply for job placement. Then they can be interviewed. 

Once the candidate has been accepted, you’ll need to inform DWP so the funding process can start. 

If the candidate leaves before the 6 month period, you must inform DWP as soon as possible. 


What does DWP stand for? 


DWP stands for Department for Work and Pensions.


Don’t fancy doing it yourself?

Find out who can do the work for you by going to the kickstart gateways.  They can support and help you through the process. 

Kickstart gateways will get £360 for each job placement to cover admin costs.  Some kickstart gateways also offer to support the Kickstarter through their 6 month period. 


Apprenticeships Scheme


Taking apprenticeships on, what does it entail?


The candidates need to be 16 years or older, there isn’t an age bracket. They have to be in no other education at the time of employment starts.  

You have to give the apprentice a job role that allows them to gain knowledge and skills, by allowing them to combine their learning in a workplace environment. 

Apprenticeships last for at least a year but can last longer, depending on the role you select. 

As well as what you agree on in your contract of employment.  


How do I get an apprenticeship scheme?


To get an apprentice, you can either create an apprenticeship service account which will help you recruit apprenticeship roles. The apprenticeship service account will also help you get funding for the apprenticeship, as well as help manage apprenticeships.

Another way of getting an apprentice is by choosing a training provider

A training provider is the system that will monitor the apprentices progress through their apprenticeship. They are the qualification board. Some training providers help with the recruiting process. 

For me, I use Heart of England Training,  HOET, are absolutely great with all the apprenticeships I have taken on. Their support is incredible. HOET also helps with the recruiting process. 


What are the benefits?

Taking on apprentices can be a productive and effective way to help them grow skills and gain knowledge in a working environment. 

You can adapt their training to the needs of your business. 

It’s a good way to expand and upskill your workforce. 


The apprenticeship scheme. 

The apprentice needs to complete at least 20% off the job training to be able to complete their apprenticeship scheme. 

Off the job training can be anything from an online course class that contributes to their job role. It could also be anything that enables them to gain more skills and knowledge.

The off the job training has to be done in the apprenticeships working hours. 

The apprentice has to be able to learn of experienced staff as part of the agreement. 


Getting the funding. 

The government can help to pay for the apprenticeship, depending on the amount to pay the apprenticeship levy or not. You only pay the levy if you pay a bill over £3 million each year. 

Taking apprenticeships on, you have to agree to a payment schedule with the training provider and pay them directly for the training. 

If you don’t pay the levy, you pay 5% towards the cost of training and assessing your apprentice.  The government will pay the rest of the costs. 

You may also be eligible for extra funding depending on your circumstances. 

If you pay the levy, the government will add the 10% contribution to the funds on training and assessing your apprentice.


The Apprenticeship scheme wage 


The wage for an apprenticeship has to be at least £4.30, from April 21, which is the apprenticeship wage, regardless of their age for the first year of their apprenticeship. 

After their first year of their apprenticeship the wage will change to the minimum hourly rate. Which will vary depending on their age. 

What will suit your business the best?


It’s figuring out what your business wants are. 

What do you envision your team to look like? 

Are you wanting to do a long term investment, wanting to build longer relationships within your team, to help your team grow?

Apprenticeships are a great way for that to happen, to watch your team grow, to expand their knowledge and skills within your business.

Or are you wanting something short term? 

The kickstart scheme is for a maximum of 6 months, maybe that’s enough time to help you and your business get organised, a great opportunity to help you and your business tackle those tasks, that never seem to get done, get done. 


Get in touch 


Get in touch with us today and we can help you get the right introductions to the people you need to help you with recruiting new members of staff regardless whether that’s for Kickstarter gateway help or an introduction to the apprenticeship training provider we use to help you get started. 

Email us today at or use the contact form

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.