Kickstart Extension Scheme (KSES)

The SME Kickstart Extension Scheme (KSES) is open to private sector SMEs and voluntary sector organisations employing less than 250 people located in Leicester and Leicestershire.

Employers applying to the scheme must have an existing Kickstart placement supported through the DWP Kickstart scheme where they wish to extend the placement period for an individual from 6 to 12 months.

This scheme is funded by the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP) and managed by Leicester City Council.

Please ensure that you have read the guidance below before submitting the form at the bottom of this page.

Kickstart Extension Scheme - Eligibility criteria

  1. The SME Kickstart Extension Scheme (KSES) is open to private sector SMEs and voluntary sector organisations employing less than 250 people located in Leicester and Leicestershire.
  2. Employers applying to the scheme must have an existing Kickstart placement supported through the DWP Kickstart scheme where they wish to extend the placement period for an individual from 6 to 12 months.
  3. Applications to the scheme will be via completion of an application form.
  1. Whilst there is an assumption of assessment criteria and due diligence having been applied prior to commencement on the DWP Kickstart Scheme (e.g. young person in receipt of Universal Credit), further eligibility checks will be carried out as this is a different funding source to DWP and there is a requirement to ensure appropriate use of public funds.
  1. The KSES will pay 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage, National Insurance and pension contributions for 30 hours a week as detailed in the table below. If any subsequent increases are announced within the lifetime of the scheme, they will be incorporated into any relevant payments.

National Minimum Wage (2021-22)

  • Aged 23 and over - £8.91 per hour
  • Aged 21 to 22 - £8.36 per hour
  • Aged 18 t0 20 - £6.56 per hour
  1. Employers can top up the hourly rates specified, but only the applicable minimum wage will be paid by the scheme, up to a maximum of 30 hours.
  2. Places on the KSES will be limited to two placements per employer in order to support a wide range of employers and young people.
  3. Young people must be aged between 18 – 24 to be eligible for the scheme, except where they had their 25th birthday during the initial six months of the DWP Kickstart scheme.
  4. The number of placements available will be approximately 90 and demand is therefore expected to exceed supply. Applications will be assessed as they are received against the following guiding principles:
  • Support for those sectors of the economy which have been hardest hit by the pandemic, e.g. hospitality, creative and cultural, care
  • Supporting young people who would most benefit from an extended period of employment, in particular looked after children, ex-offenders, , those with disabilities, including neurodiversity and those with existing low educational attainment.
  • Ensuring that the scheme is operational across Leicester and Leicestershire and that existing Kickstart Gateway providers are fully engaged
  • Employers clear demonstration on how this placement will be leading to either progression to apprenticeship or permanent employment. This will need to be demonstrated 3 months into the placement period.

Applications will be assessed how meet the above criteria.

  1. You need to apply for the extension to kickstart at least six weeks before your placement is due to end to ensure enough time for your application to be processed. 
  1. Evidence of salary payment will need to be sent to the managing agent which will include bank statement and payslips, payment will be made within 14 days of receipt of this evidence. Contract and claim documentation will be provided if your application is approved.

Apply for the SME Kickstart Extension Scheme

Please complete the application form via the link below.

Once submitted, your application will be assessed by the grant panel and we will let you know the outcome within 14 days.

Apply for the SME Kickstart Extension Scheme