Government pushed to retain graduate scheme

Posted on 21 Feb 2011 by The Manufacturer

A leading SME trade body is calling on Government to extend its Graduate Internship Scheme, currently scheduled to end in March.

The scheme sees Government help pay towards the cost of setting up internships and matches candidates with suitable businesses.

The Federation of Small Businesses says 8,500 internships have been taken through the scheme since its launch last February and 25 per cent of these have resulted in permanent employment.

The trade body is now calling on government to extend the scheme with another £8m to support a further 5,000 internships. It says doing so is technically better for the economy because of the reductions in benefits and added tax revenues garnered as a result of the scheme.

“The current Graduate Internship Scheme has proved highly successful, with some interns going on to start their own companies and others being offered full-time positions with the business they interned for,” said John Walker, national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses.

“The UK’s young people are the future of the economy, yet we are seeing youth unemployment approaching one million. It is time that the Government invested into this vital sector so that we don’t see a generation of youngsters consigned to the dole queue.”

Recent data from the Office for National Statistics shows one in five young people aged between 16 and 24 are currently out of work.