New graduate internship programme for small businesses

The government is to establish a special internship scheme aimed at helping smaller firms recruit graduates.

Graduates who take part in the scheme will receive a weekly payment from the government of £100 which will contribute to their wages. Employers will then top up the balance.

The new scheme, combined with the Backing Young Britain programme, is expected to create about 10,000 small business internships. University careers offices will help match graduates to the places available.

The measure was announced by the Prime Minister. Mr Brown said: “To add to the 100,000 new young people’s jobs we are already creating, we can offer, in partnership with the Federation of Small Businesses, 10,000 skilled internships so that, even in the midst of tough economic times, we are encouraging a whole new generation of young Britons to embrace ambition and British enterprise.”

John Wright, the national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), applauded the move.

Mr Wright said: “Over the past few months, the FSB has been calling for the government to recognise the importance of small businesses in creating jobs for skilled young people graduating from college and university. Small firms are the country’s job creators – central to our economic recovery – and more than half have said they would employ more staff if they were given the right support.”

He described the internship scheme as a “victory for small businesses across the country”.

Mr Wright argued that not only will graduates gain real work experience and develop real skills, small firms will also benefit from the talents of a graduate workforce.

The FSB added that it would be promoting the scheme among its membership and encouraging all small businesses to link up with university careers services in order to offer vacancies and create placements.