South Swindon MP Robert Buckland is urging employers across the town to sign up to the government’s new Kickstart scheme and help young people into work.

The £2 billion scheme has been designed to ensure young people at risk of long-term unemployment have more opportunities by creating quality, government-subsidised jobs across the UK that will help to spur the country’s economic recovery after the coronavirus pandemic.

Under the scheme, announced in June as part of the government’s Plan for Jobs, employers that sign up will be able to offer anyone aged 16 to 24 who is claiming Universal Credit a six-month work placement that is fully funded by the government.

This means the government will pay all of the young person’s age-relevant national minimum wage, National Insurance and pension contributions for 25 hours a week, which the employer can top up if they choose to.

The government will pay the employer £1,500 for each young person they take on to support any training or associated costs like uniforms they might incur when setting up the scheme.

The scheme will be open until December 2021, but there is the option for it to be extended. Young people will be referred into the new roles through their Jobcentre Plus work coach, with the first Kickstarts expected to begin at the start of November.

Mr Buckland said: “Since becoming MP for South Swindon in 2010, I have worked hard to tackle youth unemployment in the town and pre-Covid, this had gone down by 61.3 per cent

“We have many bright young people here in Swindon and I am determined that despite the economic cost of Covid, they are given the opportunities they deserve and the chance to succeed through the Government’s Plan for Jobs, which includes this scheme and new government cash incentives for employers to take on apprentices.”

, Business West managing director Phil Smith welcomed the initiative: “At a time when cashflow is tight, this fully-funded scheme will help employers bring young people into the workplace and develop new talent for the future.

“To be successful, it needs to create long-term, quality employment opportunities and ensure that businesses and employees are fully supported throughout the placement.

“Rooted in local business communities, Bristol, Bath, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire Chambers of Commerce understand employers’ growth aspirations and will be working to bring companies and young people together to create new jobs."

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said: “This isn’t just about kickstarting our country’s economy – it is an opportunity to kickstart the careers of thousands of young people who could otherwise be left behind as a result of the pandemic.

“The scheme will open the door to a brighter future for a new generation and ensure the UK bounces back stronger as a country.”

Work and Pensions secretary Therese Coffey said: “Kickstart is the most ambitious youth employment programme in this country’s history, with an unlimited number of placements available and a commitment by this government to pay every Kickstarter’s wages for six months.

“We are putting young people at the heart of our recovery by investing in potential, opening up opportunities and harnessing hope.

“Together we will build back better, come back stronger and look forward to a prosperous future. Employers should sign up today.”