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Job Start Scheme

Job Start is a new scheme, run by the Department for Communities, to help young people who are not in work, aged 16 – 24 years, get into the job market. Employers of all sizes can apply. 

How the Scheme Works

The JobStart Scheme provides funding to create new job opportunities for 16 to 24 year olds who are at risk of long term unemployment. Employers of all sizes 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 (or 9 months for a young person who meets additional criteria)
  • associated employer National Insurance contributions
  • employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions

Employers can stagger the start dates of the job opportunities up until the end of March 2022.

If an employer is unsure of the number of job opportunities they want to create when making their initial application, they can submit further applications up to 31 March 2022.

Job Start Funding

You’ll get £1,500 funding per job opportunity. This is for setup costs and to support the young person develop their employability skills.

You will be free to consider employing the young person for more than 25 hours per week but the funding will only cover the first 25 hours and companies will have to fund any additional hours.

Employer Eligibility Criteria

  • Employers must be based in Northern Ireland
  • Employers of all sizes can participate in the scheme
  • Employers in all sectors can participate (including the voluntary and community sector)
  • Employers can offer one job or multiple jobs to participate in JobStart
  • JobStart opportunities must not replace existing or planned vacancies or cause existing employees, apprentices or contractors to lose or reduce their employment.
  • Jobs offered must provide a 6 month job opportunity, with a possible extension to 9 months for those who meet certain criteria
  • Jobs opportunities must offer at least 25 hours of employment per week
  • Jobs offered must pay at least the National Minimum Wage through PAYE

How Young People Can Participate

Any young person in receipt of Universal Credit, Job Seekers Allowance, Income Support or Employment and Support Allowance can participate in the JobStart scheme if they are assessed as being work ready by a Work Coach from the Department for Communities.

Where a young person is not currently claiming an eligible benefit, they should contact the JobStart Team in the Department for Communities on 0300 200 7807 to get information on how to be submitted to the JobStart Scheme.


Employers can apply now on the JobStart Website. Employers should allow up to 4 weeks for applications to be considered. Any correspondence about applications will be issued by email 

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