The National Internship Scheme is a government run scheme set up in January 2009 to help recent university graduates to find employment. The scheme is primarily aimed at helping graduates, who have been out of work for six months or longer, to find work.
How the National Internship Scheme works
Details on the National Internship Scheme are very sketchy right now (January 2009). The scheme is a joint venture and will be run by the Dius (Department for Innovation, Universities & Skills) in collaboration with the DwP (Department of Work and Pensions). Several million pounds have been set aside to organise, establish and run the scheme.
Spokespeople suggest that the scheme is intended to help people graduating from university in the summer of 2009 and that the scheme will be operational by June this year. However, at the time of writing (January 2009) the organisers of the National Internship Scheme have only met with four companies. Only two of these companies, Barclays and Microsoft, have agreed to take part in the scheme, whilst the other two companies remain unnamed - a possible indication that they may not wish to be part of the scheme, or are not yet convinced of its potential benefits.
Potential problems with the National Internship Scheme
In theory, the government will encourage businesses to hire people by offering £2,500 "Employer Golden Hellos" to businesses for each graduate they hire as an intern. However, companies will not necessarily need to pay a salary to these interns. The government sees a benefit in helping graduates find employment, even if it is unpaid, because they will be developing key work skills. Graduates, many of whom will have taken several internships during their university education, are not so convinced of the benefits.
Both companies already signed up to the National Internship Scheme - Barclays and Microsoft - already offer internships to students and graduates. Some people are questioning whether these companies will just take the government "Employer Golden Hello" of £2,500 when they hire an intern, even though they may not actually be hiring more interns than they originally intended to.
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