Why the Chancellor’s ‘kickstart’ scheme won’t help university graduates

Linda J. Dodson

Aspiring lawyers, accountants and other ambitious university graduates have been left behind by the Government’s new ‘kickstart’ scheme as it will push young people into low-paid work with minimal career progression, jobs experts have said. 

Today Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a £2bn package to get 16 to 24-year-olds into work by directly paying their wages for six months. However it will only be available to people on Universal Credit, excluding the majority of university leavers, and they will be offered just 25 hours work a week, paid at the national minimum wage. 

Peter Cheese of the CIPD, a trade body for the HR sector, said: “Similar schemes in the past have floundered, as employer pick up was low or largely limited to low-paid opportunities in the public or charitable sectors.” 

He warned the same challenges were likely to face the kickstart scheme. 

Around 700,000 young people are finishing university this year. For many their aspirations have been dashed as thousands of graduate jobs and schemes have been cut.

Recruitment of university leavers fell by 76pc between January and May, according to jobs site Adzuna, and major employers such as the big banks, consultancies, accountants and law firms were among the first to axe opportunities. Lloyds Banking Group, HSBC, PwC and BDO have all delayed or cancelled recruitment schemes and internships.

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