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Kickstart Culture in the Workplace: Last Chance to Apply

When the UK government first launched its Kickstart scheme in early 2021, the benefits were clear. As long as a company was already looking to grow, it could apply for a ‘kickstarter’, a person under the age of 25 currently claiming universal credit. Not only would their pay and national insurance costs be covered for six months, but the company would be given a grant to help it with any resources it needed to support the new worker. 

The Fintech Power 50 became one of the first gateway agencies approved by the Department of Work and Pensions to help more than 100 fintech companies, with 213 grants already secured equating to over £1.5million and more than 80 hires in place so far.

With the final deadline to get involved with the kickstart scheme coming up on 30th November (for more information and to apply now visit the Power50 website) The Fintech Times hears from some companies who took on a placement and the benefits to both the company and the kickstarters. 

Predictive Black

Predictive Black welcomed three kickstarters, all in different but vital parts of the cash management company. The company decided to give each an executive ‘sponsor’ who would be responsible for their day-to-day wellbeing. Zitah McMilla, CEO and co-founder of Predictive Black, shares his views.

Why did you choose to get involved with the Kickstart scheme?

Zitah McMilla (ZM): Some years ago, I was responsible for Work and Getting back to Work communications at the Department of Work and Pensions; it’s not an easy task to get young people into work and motivate the employers to take them. This scheme is borne out of a really good piece of policy thinking, understanding the motivation of all involved, including the Government in wanting to reduce the unemployment count. When the scheme first launched it wasn’t structured so that small companies like mine could easily get involved, however The Fintech Power 50 solved that problem for me!  They made it incredibly easy to get onboard with the scheme and have been supportive throughout.

How has your workplace welcomed your kickstarters?

ZM: We have a daily stand-up meeting which the three placements join and hear what the priorities are for the day and week, it’s an opportunity for them to talk about their own work and ask for support from others in the team if they need it. The great thing about being a small company is that the placements are more engaged and involved than maybe they would be in a larger company.

What have you done to support the growth of your kickstarters?

ZM: We’re always learning, no matter what level in the company, so we are always keen to make sure there are internal and external training opportunities. Sometimes they’re more formal, such as a specific piece of technical training via Microsoft for example, and other times it will be a webinar hosted by an industry body or figure. 

We have been able to accelerate some of our planned enhancements pipeline with the support of the placements, and they’ve brought new ideas to the table as well which is always welcome.

Fintech Wales

Fintech Wales has so far welcomed one new recruit, mainly to interact with members through marketing initiatives and providing support during events while also being included in the wider strategic discussion of the organisation.

Let’s hear from Sarah Williams-Gardener, the CEO of Fintech Wales.

Why did you choose to get involved with the Kickstart scheme?

Sarah Williams-Gardener (SWG): I’m passionate about supporting talent and for young people getting their first job is an important step. The Kickstarter scheme is a great way to encourage young people into the exciting fast-moving world of fintech. More broadly having come off of the pandemic with businesses having potentially taken a financial hit this scheme is supporting both young people and business specifically SMEs to build back. More broadly Fintech Wales promoted this scheme actively across our membership and we’re delighted to have seen so many members engaged with what we believe to be in excess of 50 placements to date.

How has your kickstarter been welcomed into the company?

SWG: We are a small team of only four people, so working together is critical especially under the restrictions of the pandemic with remote working. We have regular weekly team stand-ups and office-based days. We have buddied our kickstarter up with a colleague encouraging regular catch up’s and learning sessions. From day one I would like to feel our kickstarter felt valued and welcome the advantage of a small team in high exposure very broadly to how businesses are managed, having a fresh perspective is both welcomed and encouraged.

What have you done to support the growth of your kickstarter?

SWG: We encourage getting involved in all aspects of the business, this includes work shadowing and training courses. We also check in weekly to discuss progress, learnings and to understand gaps. 

Funding Options

Funding Options, upon hearing about the Kickstart opportunity, was instantly excited to be involved. Elizabeth Harris, the talent acquisition lead at Funding Options, said she felt that the company could provide a great collaborative environment for someone to really thrive, develop and grow while also providing the team with a new, enthusiastic energy.

How has your workplace welcomed your kickstarter? 

EH: Everyone has embraced the scheme and are excited to help and contribute to the journey of our Kickstart employee. We could see the value someone on this scheme could bring to their team and the company.

How has your kickstarter been integrated into the company? 

EH: Seamlessly, from day one he was learning really quickly and helping our IT Manager resolve tickets. He is always smiling, helpful and searching for new learning opportunities.

What have you done to support the growth of your kickstarter? 

EH: We introduced him to the whole company on one of our company update calls and ensured he had a clear onboarding path to ensure he could learn at a controlled pace in a very open environment where he felt comfortable to ask any questions he needed. We also arranged presentations from each department to ensure he could learn about all aspects of the company and what the different teams do.

How has the Kickstart scheme benefitted your company? 

EH: It has enabled us to set up a new onboarding process for junior, less experienced starters and think of different ways to help empower learning and development in a different way, it has also proved that someone with the right attitude can learn very quickly so will open the door to more junior employees joining the teams. We have been really happy with the eager extra pair of hands too!

Dion Garsden, currently Kickstart marketing assistant for Direct ID adds: “When I signed up for Universal Credit, I did not expect to find such a suitable role with a professional company within the same month I graduated university! I am now ahead of most of my peers in terms of professional experience and career opportunities. The Kickstart scheme is a great initiative for any company and Universal Credit is a great option for university graduates, not just unemployed individuals. The scheme has really shifted that stigma surrounding Universal Credit – companies ranging from startup tech firms to law firms are all taking on young people via it.”

For more information on how to get invovled with the Kickstart Scheme, or to apply now, visit the Power50 website by 30th November.


  • Polly is a journalist, content creator and general opinion holder from North Wales. She has written for a number of publications, usually hovering around the topics of fintech, tech, lifestyle and body positivity.

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