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Kickstart - how to hire new talent for your games business through the Government scheme

Ukie and Into Games have teamed up to become gateway providers for the Government's Kickstart Scheme. So far, over 40 companies have come together to create over 100 roles for young people who are currently on Universal Credit and seeking a role in their local job centre. Best of all, the scheme is open for the whole of 2021 - which means you still have time to add roles and get people onto your team with the support of Government funding.

But what is the scheme and how exactly does it work? Sara Cristina Machado, Careers Lead at Into Games, has pulled together this guide to help get you started.

What is the Kickstart scheme?

Kickstart is a Government scheme aimed to help support young people back into work after the economic effects of the pandemic. It’s aimed at 16-24-year-olds who are not in education and are currently claiming universal credit. If you hire someone through the scheme, the government will pay their wages for 6 months.

And why are Ukie and Into Games taking the lead on this?

The scheme requires that you must be able to provide at a minimum 30 job places as either an individual organisation or as a consortium of organisations in a similar field, with one representative.

Ukie is putting itself forward to be that representative for the games sector and run all the associated administration required. It believes that the Kickstart scheme is both a great way for companies to bring new talent into their businesses, but also to expand the hiring pool in line with industry commitments made through the #RaiseTheGame pledge.

Into Games is a youth careers non-profit that works to provide better opportunities into the games sector for underrepresented groups. We have several projects aimed at educating about a career in Games and providing guidance to get things started. And, of course, we will also provide the employability training, required by the Government, so you don't have to worry about it!

Which games businesses are eligible to use the Kickstart Scheme?

You must be a registered company paying your staff via PAYE, the job placements created need to be new roles, and no existing employee, apprentices, or contractors should lose work or have their hours reduced as a result of the Kickstart Scheme.

How does the application process work?

Your job descriptions will be forwarded to the DWP, who will deploy them through regional JobCentre Plus centres. They will forward you, applicants, directly and you will be able to interview them, just like any other position.

Once you accept a candidate, as soon as you put them through PAYE, they will be registered on the system and you will be able to claim back their wages.

How long are the placements?

Placements need to be 26 weeks (6 months) in length. You are under no obligation to keep someone on after this period, but if you do, you will not be able to claim back any further wage costs. You can, however, do a second round of hires through the scheme.

How do I claim the wages back?

You will need to pay the Kickstart participants through your PAYE system. After the first 3 months of employment, you will be refunded and paid a lump sum by UKIE, the same thing will happen in the following 3 months. There is no major application or process work for this. 

How much will I receive in funding?

Payment for the Kickstart Scheme is managed in the following ways:

1. You'll receive initial payment for set-up costs, support, and training.

2.  There will then be six further payments of the remainder of the funding, paid in arrears, for each Participant.

Importantly, the Department for Work and Pensions will only provide us with funding when it is satisfied that the Participant has started employment with you. 

So do make sure you keep a clear record of when a Kickstarter hire joins your payroll to ensure you receive your funding promptly.

How do I sign my business up for Kickstart?

You can apply for your business to join the Kickstart scheme by filling out this form here.