Pay employers to offer Internships

Date: 17th August 2010
Category: Respect for the views of the child, Education, Leisure and Cultural Activities, Disability, Basic Health and Welfare

A "non-graduate talent pool" would benefit business and at-risk young people.

Employers who give quality internships to disadvantaged young people - such as young offenders and care leavers - should receive 'pay-back' from the Government says new research from Demos. Employers would receive payment if their intern had found stable employment within a year of completing their placement.

The independent think tank said that the state stands to make significant savings by getting young people who would otherwise be NEET (not in employment, education or training) off welfare and into the workplace. Demos calls on employers to think of this group as a "non-graduate talent pool".

In a report published by the Foyer Federation, Demos recommends:

- The Job Seekers Allowance system should be reviewed to ensure it does not disincentivise young people - particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds from undertaking work experience and internships.

- The introduction of a 'pay-back' scheme for employers who provide high quality work experience for disadvantaged and at-risk young people.

- The introduction of a nation-wide internship network allowing companies to share experiences of working with disadvantaged young people.

Internships were found to significantly increase an individual's chances of employment by the Cabinet Office's Panel on Fair Access to the Professions. The research by Demos found that young people with low qualifications were excluded from this crucial experience with many internships being aimed at university graduates.

In the new report, Access All Areas, Demos urges action to be taken to get disadvantaged young people into internships normally dominated by the middle classes. A 2008 study found there was significant correlation between socio-economic background and the social status of work places indicating that work placements can compound the class divide.

Under the Demos scheme, financial rewards would be available only to employers offering quality placements that gave young people an opportunity to build their workplace skills. A survey of 2,000 14-19 year olds from earlier this year revealed that over half of respondents felt there were not enough good work placements available.