Businesses and the third sector in East Lothian are being given the opportunity to sign-up for a scheme which will offer paid work placements to young people in the area.

The Kickstart Scheme is a new initiative to support economic recovery and help young people get a foothold in the jobs market.

Government funding is being provided to create paid six-month work placements in businesses and organisations across the country. All placements are fully-funded.

East Lothian Council will be participating in the scheme as both a gateway organisation and an employer. This means that the council will support local businesses and organisations in providing placements as well as making placements available within the local authority.

With a minimum of 30 placements being required to secure Kickstart Scheme funding, the council will bring all placements together into a consortium and manage the funding process.

Placements will be open to 18 to 24 year olds in receipt of Universal Credit, as well as 16 and 17 year olds who are at risk of long-term unemployment.

Any business or third sector organisation, large or small, in East Lothian could potentially be involved.

Attractive proposition

Councillor John McMillan, Cabinet Spokesperson for Economic Development and Tourism, said:

“Growing East Lothian’s economy and stimulating opportunities for job creation, including among young people, is one of the council’s top priorities.

“At a time when we are working hard to reduce the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Kickstart Scheme is an opportunity for young people to gain valuable, paid-for work experience and boost their future prospects.

“We are encouraging East Lothian businesses of all shapes and sizes, as well as the third sector, to get involved. The scheme is fully-funded by government which we hope will make it an attractive proposition.

“The council, through our employability service East Lothian Works, will be working hard to make this a success, ensuring placements are co-ordinated and the opportunities that this presents maximised.”


As a minimum of 30 placements is required to apply for Kickstart Scheme funding, East Lothian Council will act as an employer and as an umbrella, gateway organisation to ensure that that companies which can only take on employ a small number of young people are able to take part. This means that smaller firms can be involved, as we will bring all placements together into a consortium and manage the funding process.

The placements will last six months, based on 25 hours per week for the placement.

Placements must not replace existing or planned vacancies, or cause existing employees to lose their position or reduce their roles.

The number of placements to be offered within East Lothian will be confirmed in due course.

Participants must be supported by employers to develop their skills in looking for long-term work, CV building and work skills (communication, organisation etc).

Kickstart Scheme funding will cover: 

  • The wage of the participant (national minimum wage)
  • The associated employer National Insurance contributions 
  • Employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions 

There will also be funding available to support young people to develop new skills and to help them move into sustained employment after they have completed their Kickstart  funded placement.

Organisations interested in getting involved, or registering interest, should contact the team at East Lothian Works by emailing or Daniel Stevens  

Alternatively you can telephone 01620 827677 or 07974 748192.

Published: Friday, 16th October 2020