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The Fintech Power 50 Launches Fintech KICKSTART Scheme as 1 in 10 Young People Lose Their Job during COVID-19

The Fintech Power 50 and its partners (Innovate Finance, London & Partners, Rise created by Barclays, Level 39, and iFinance Academy) have announced the launch of the Fintech KICKSTART scheme that looks to champion support across its fintech ecosystem and provide employment opportunities for 16-24 year olds. This scheme falls under the UK government’s Kickstart Scheme that launched in September.

The past eight months have been a challenge to everyone all across the globe. The Covid-19 pandemic has taken its toll on every industry, and the country is constantly seeing hit after hit to the economy, jobs and people’s wellbeing.

One thing regularly hitting the headlines is the effect the pandemic is having on young people. Not only is their mental health and personal lives being affected, but also their employment. According to a recent report from the London School of Economics and Political Science, more than one in ten people aged 16-25 have lost their job, and 60% have seen their earnings fall since the coronavirus pandemic began. Under the government furlough scheme launched at the beginning of the lockdown, under 25s were more likely to be furloughed than any other age group, and were also the most likely to lose their job, with youth unemployment rising to 13.1%.

It’s clear to see young people are suffering, not just in their employment but also their education. A quarter of school pupils received no teaching at all during the pandemic, and 68% of surveyed university students believe their future educational achievement will be affected by coronavirus, as well as the number of graduate jobs falling by 60.3% in the first half of 2020 according to data from CV Library.

“I have applied for almost 100 jobs since leaving university, but have had only two interviews,” said Chris King, a recent graduate from Nottingham Trent University. “It’s been a real struggle as more people than ever are applying for entry-level jobs, and when over 1000 people are applying for the same position as you it can be more than a little demoralising. Job hunting is always hard but with unemployment figures as high as they are chances for young people to get on the jobs ladder are extremely difficult to come by.”

In response to this rising level of unemployment, the UK government have launched the Kickstart scheme to provide funding to employers to create new job placements for 16-24 year olds who are at risk of long term unemployment. Under 25s now make up a third of new universal credit claims, and this programme is designed with those in mind. These placements last for six months and are fully-funded by the government, who will pay the minimum wage for 16-24 year olds for up to 25 hours a week, plus NI and auto enrolments. The government will also pay a £1500 per placement grant to employers to go towards set up costs, equipment and training.

However, The UK government are requiring companies to take on a minimum of 30 placements in order to apply for the programme. This may be difficult for some start-ups and smaller companies, fintechs in particular, who may not have the scale to support 30 new employees and their training.

So, to combat this, The Fintech Power 50 will act as a gateway representative company for the programme to allow fintech’s to take on one or more placements, as well as helping to streamline the application process. They have teamed up with many key companies across the sector in order to help fintech’s access this scheme where otherwise the likely wouldn’t have been able to.

Mark Walker, Co-founder of The Power 50, said: “When the UK Government announced the Kickstart Scheme back in early September, I thought it was a fantastic idea. However, when applying the concept to the fintech sector we found several limitations that made the scheme difficult to access for many companies. In order to bridge this gap, I wanted to form a group of the leading associations, companies, and partners within the fintech world, offering additional support and allowing access to placements that may not have existed without our help. We have brought together the most powerful players in the fintech ecosystem to participate in this scheme, and we want to ensure these placements benefit the young person and the fintech company equally.

“Our main goal is to help as many young people as possible from the worst hit sectors of the Covid-19 pandemic, such as hospitality and retail, to retrain, get experience and start a new fintech career journey. If next year we can say that we helped even just one person get off universal credit and onto a potential new career in fintech I will call this initiative a success.”

The Power50 already has support from Confused.com, Clearbank, Openpayd, Omnio, Funding Options, Contis, with many more joining every day. These companies will be helping with the promotion of the scheme as well as taking on a number of placements themselves.

The scheme has potential to support fintech startup/ scaleup environments with an extra pair of hands, as kickstart employees could provide help within an operation, increase productivity and could potentially grow as future talent within the company. There are no mandatory requirements for the companies to provide permanent full-time employment at the end of the six-month placement, however there is a hope that the young person would prove themselves, gain work experience and may make themselves suitable for internal opportunities or extended employment.

The benefits of working with The Power 50 as a gateway representative include a streamlined application process to the scheme as well as a free listing for placements on the TFT jobs board, potentially attracting a larger pool of prospective young people to work with due to The Power 50’s audience and partners.

For more information visit https://www.thepower50.com/kickstart/


  • 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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