Government schemes

What help is out there for employers to recruit young people?

About this guidance 

Sometimes starting out in the youth employability space and accessing the right government initiative can be daunting. Here at Movement to Work, alongside our connections with the Department for Work and Pensions, we are passionate about helping employers understand what’s out there and supporting them to make the right choice for their business. 

Once employers know how to meaningfully unlock the schemes that are out there, young people get a chance to build bright futures and businesses get to access diverse talent. Done well, it’s a win-win for business, young people, and society as a whole.  

Read on to find out more about the various government-funded employability initiatives that we can signpost you to, and the Movement to Work team is here to help if there’s anything else you need.

> What is Movement to Work?

Movement to Work (MtW) exists to help employers find ways to offer quality youth employability opportunities for those aged 16-30 facing barriers to work. Through this, we help to create sustainable, inclusive and diverse workplaces fit for the future. We do this by rallying businesses and making powerful partnerships across the training, charitable and government sectors, and inspiring leaders to help young people change their lives through positive encounters with work. 

Since 2013, the Movement to Work community has helped to deliver more than 175,000 opportunities to date with some of the biggest employers in the U.K. helping us to drive social change including: Accenture, BAE Systems, Barclays, BT, Salesforce, Centrica, the Department for Work and Pensions, Diageo, HSBC, IBM, Marks and Spencer, Marriott International, NHS, Tesco, and Unilever amongst others. 

We are a registered charity offering 100% no-cost support – all we ask in return is that you commit to join our mission and deliver high quality programmes for those that need it most.

> Benefits to your business

There are wide-ranging benefits to be realised across all government-backed initiatives including:

  • Increasing your social and corporate value plus engagement by supporting and enabling young people to gain valuable experience and improve their chances of finding work, locally, or nationally.
  • Tapping into a new source of talent that will enhance and diversify the existing workforce, as opposed to continuing to utilise the same recruitment methods and pools of talent.
  • Your future talent strategy will undoubtedly have ambitions to increase your diversity and inclusion and these initiatives can positively impact this.
  • You can influence or design a programme that suits both the needs of your business and the needs of the trainee, giving you the ability to recruit staff with the right training and skills from the outset.
  • You can spend time with the young person and see whether they are a good fit for another placement or a job in your business whilst accessing initiatives.
  • Long term, you will see a return on your investment in the form of a long-term employee with a tailored set of skills.
  • You will be having a transformational impact on the life of the young person who was at risk of long-term unemployment, and their family.

Find out more about what employers say about Movement to Work and how it’s helped their business here.

A-Z Government Employability Schemes  


> Apprenticeships

Paid employment for over 16s, combining work and study in a job allowing you to develop your workforce and business.

  • Cost: Apprentice minimum wage and 5% training contribution depending on business size.
  • Benefits: You develop a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce with knowledge of your business.

Time: Minimum of 12 months of employment

> Care-Leaver covenant

Help 16 to 25-year-olds who were in local authority care become independent through practical job-related support, in whatever way suits your business.

  • Cost: Free government scheme but you may have your own business costs related to the practical offer you make to care leavers.
  • Benefits: Helping care-leavers to move to independent living and bring their life skills to enrich your business.

Time: Length of time can vary

> Employing prisoners and prison leavers

Employ prisoners and prison leavers aged 18 and over to help your business fill skills gaps and develop a loyal and talented workforce.

  • Cost: Free government scheme but you may have your own business costs.
  • Benefits: Access a workforce that is highly motivated to grow through work.

Time: Variable depending on employer and prisoner and prison leaver

> Sector-based Work Academy Programme (SWAP)

Up to 6-week placement for benefit claimants for those aged 18 and over designed to help you recruit a workforce with the right skills to sustain and grow your business.

  • Cost: Free government scheme but you may have your own business costs.
  • Benefits: Helps you recruit or train staff through fully-funded pre-employment training.

Time: Up to 6 weeks

> Skills Bootcamps

Flexible training courses for aged 19 and over to fast-track specialist skill development, for existing or new talent for your business.

  • Cost: Cost is dependent on the size of your business. There is no cost to the employer if the learner is not currently employed by you.
  • Benefits: A new starter will be trained in a specialist skill specific to your business and be highly motivated by a guaranteed interview afterward.

Time: Up to 16 weeks

> Supported Internships for learners with an education, health and care plan

An unpaid 6 to 12-month work placement for 16 to 24-year-olds with additional needs, including Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), supported by a qualified job coach.

  • Cost: Free government scheme but you may have your own business costs.
  • Benefits: Increases your confidence and ability to employ individuals with additional needs, improving and expanding your business’ recruitment prospects.

Time: 6 to 12 months

> T Levels: industry placements

Offering a T Level placement gives you early access to the brightest young people entering the market and the opportunity to develop your workforce of the future.

  • Cost: Free government scheme but you may have your own business costs.
  • Benefits: Allows you to grow your workforce in the short-term with little or no cost and scout future talent in your area.

Time: Short-term 45 day industry placement

> Traineeships

A 6-week to 12 months skills development programme that includes an unpaid work placement to help 16 to 24 year-olds prepare for an apprenticeship or employment.

  • Cost: Free government scheme but you may have your own business costs
  • Benefits: Provides a stepping stone for your future apprentices or employees to gain valuable skills relevant to your business

Time: 70 to 240 hours of work placement

Additional government support and initiatives  

> Access to Work

Access to Work is a publicly funded employment support grant scheme that aims to support disabled people start or stay in work. It can provide practical and financial support for people who have a disability or long term physical or mental health condition. Support can be provided where someone needs support or adaptations beyond reasonable adjustments. Find out more on the UK government website here.

> Disability Confident

Disability Confident is creating a movement of change, encouraging employers to think differently about disability and take action to improve how they recruit, retain and develop disabled people. Being Disability Confident is a unique opportunity to lead the way in your community, and you might just discover someone your business cannot do without. Find out more on the UK government website here.

> Work trials

A work trial is a short period in work you can offer to a jobseeker on benefits. It’s a way for you both to see if the job is a good fit. It happens after you’ve interviewed them for a specific role. If they’re not suitable for it, you do not need to offer it to them. Jobseekers volunteer for a work trial. They keep getting their benefits whilst they’re on it and are not paid a wage. Find out more on the UK government website here.

> Universal Credit

Universal Credit is designed to ensure that people are better off in work. By making it easier for people to vary the number of hours they work each week or take a temporary job, Universal Credit can help provide your business with a more flexible workforce. Find out how hiring people on Universal Credit can help your business on the UK government website here.

You can also find out about the help for Universal Credit claimants aged 16 to 24 to find a job, work related training or an apprenticeship through the Youth Offer here

Still need help? We’re here for you!

We hope this guidance has been useful but we’re always here to chat further if you’d like to discuss your plans. Please reach out to your dedicated Movement to Work Regional Lead for further consultation, or if you don’t yet have one please email and we will be in touch soon! 

For more information, head to the UK government website where you can search, filter and even compare multiple schemes in a table here.