The Kickstart Scheme provides funding to create new job placements for 16 to 24-year olds on Universal Credit who are at risk of long term unemployment. Employers can apply for funding which covers 100% of the National Minimum Wage (or the National Living Wage depending on the age of the participant) for 25 hours per week for a total of 6 months.
This scheme is open to businesses of all sizes but those aiming to employ less than 30 people under the scheme were previously required to use a Gateway service to co-ordinate with DWP regarding placements.
However, the government has announced that it is amending the scheme so that, from 3 February 2021, it is removing the 30 employee threshold, so businesses of all sizes, including sole traders, can apply directly to the Kickstart scheme for any number of job placements. (You can still choose to apply for employees through a Kickstart Gateway provider but new applications to be a Kickstart Gateway provider are ending on the 28 January, as it is considered that the existing 600 gateway providers are sufficient for the number of businesses that may still want to use this route.)
Read more about the amended rules of the Kickstart scheme here.