A government-backed scheme to introduce graduate internships has been backed by several high-profile employers.
Banking giant Barclays, global IT firm Microsoft and professional services firm PwC are among the companies that have agreed to help run the scheme, which will begin this summer and see graduates being paid modest wages in return for taking part in an internship at some of the largest brands on the market.
Skill secretary John Denham announced the programme over the weekend in an attempt to help the 400,000 new graduates entering the jobs marketplace gain vital skills during the economic slump.
Denham said in an interview with The Telegraph: “They [new graduates] will be a very big group: around 400,000. We can’t just leave people to fend for themselves.”
The government cannot confirm however, how much, if any money it would be able to offer employers who provided the scheme. Initial reports suggest graduates would not receive more than the current student grant of £2,835.
But, Denham added: “At the end they will be more employable, and some of them will get jobs. Employers won’t want to let good people go.”
Both Microsoft and Barclays admitted they were “detail-light” on what the scheme would entail, adding that each firm already offered internships.
Sonja Stockton, head of student recruitment at PwC welcomed the scheme. “The economic situation has highlighted what we have emphasised to anyone applying to PwC at any level. Strong academic performance is a prerequisite for application, but those with the employability edge will demonstrate experience and skills gained inside and outside of study that puts them in the best possible position, even in a downturn.”
A Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills spokeswoman said the scheme was in its very early stages. “Details will be confirmed in the coming weeks and months,” she told Personnel Today.