The introduction of the Government’s Kickstart Scheme as a tactic to fight back the ever-growing number of unemployed 18 - 24-year-olds in the UK was initially met with general praise, but after statistics across the waning era of the second lockdown left even the party that introduced it unsure as to whether it worked, public opinion would soon drop.
The £2bn scheme, which saw smaller scale businesses advertising kickstart-specific jobs for young people on universal credit, eventually became somewhat of a backburner issue until early 2022 when the Public Accounts Committee published their report on the “chaotic” scheme’s supposed failure to deliver on basic promises.
Despite the underwhelming effects of the scheme, its prerequisites are resulting in a silent revelation amongst startups and small-scale businesses. Of the projected 217,000 approved jobs as of November 2021, several are from businesses that were either founded in early 2020 or aided via the government’s other Covid-19 related relief bills.
This means that, despite there being an underwhelming number of young people that benefited from the scheme, those that did and still do are predominantly aiding in the growth of small-scale companies around the UK. Since many of these businesses are understandably remote, it’s only natural that those relying on UC as income would draw towards that particular working environment.
This kind of positive turnover in the midst of a rather disappointing scheme is seen across the working world, especially within ShopHub itself. Since appointing four kickstart employees earlier this year, ShopHub’s predicted growth has evolved substantially. From innovative digital marketing, to complete design overhauls, and even some TikToks along the way, the future is bright for the Shopify loyalty & rewards app.
"Being able to give Kickstarters the opportunity to grow and learn in our organisation is incredibly important."
Co-Founder Josh Sparkes is a particular fan of the Scheme, predominantly due to the positive experience he and his team have gotten out of it, as he mentions: “The Kickstart Scheme allows ShopHub to accelerate its maturity in areas of product strategy, development, design, marketing, and publishing.
“Without Kickstart, ShopHub would be many months behind, and would likely sacrifice equity and control in a bid for outside funding. To say it has been helpful would be an understatement,” he continues.
Part of ShopHub’s success with the scheme comes down to complimenting its natural structure. Since most Kickstart jobs are usually framed around a flexible job specification, it means that employees can really emphasise their strengths, as Sparkes explains. “Being able to give Kickstarters the opportunity to rapidly grow and learn in our organisation is incredibly important. Watching them flourish is personally the most fulfilling element of this entire initiative.”
While it’s clear that there were fundamental flaws in a scheme that committee member Dame Meg Hillier MP criticised for its “rushed implementation and too little track kept of whether [Kickstart] was delivering what it promised - even given the unprecedented pressures at the start of the pandemic,” there is an argument to be made that, on the ground, there is a shift in how the working world is responding to ambitious young people looking to kick a small business into gear using either their established expertise or learning something new. ShopHub is a shining example of how businesses can use schemes like Kickstart to create a beneficial dynamic for everyone involved.
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