Call for more support for unemployed graduates

In advance of tomorrow’s unemployment figures from the Office for National Statistics leading graduate internship provider, Inspiring Interns is calling on the Government to boost support for unemployed graduates. A concerted effort needs to be made to ensure that graduate jobseekers do not bear the brunt of current economic difficulties and long-term structural problems.

With a staggering 28% of the class of 2007 still not in full-time employment ( and 50,000 more university leavers entering the job market in 2012 than five years ago, competition for jobs are increasingly fierce.

A recent report by High Fliers Research found that half of the companies they surveyed were unlikely to employ someone without any previous work experience.  Recruiters have confirmed that a third of this year’s entry-level positions are expected to be filled by graduates who have already worked for their organisations.

“New graduates who’ve not had any work experience have little hope of landing a well-paid job with a leading employer, irrespective of the academic results they achieve or the university they’ve attended,” said Martin Birchall, managing director of High Fliers Research.

With graduates trapped in this ‘need experience to get a job, need a job to get experience’ vicious circle, it has become vital for them to acquire work experience. Inspiring Interns Communications Director Andrew Scherer, who began his working life as an intern for Inspiring and is the author of Brilliant Intern, believes that internships are the perfect model to get graduates into meaningful work.

“The employment market is currently saturated, not just with those immediately out of university but by people with over a year’s experience under their belt. Graduates are finding that they simply cannot compete in these conditions and as such remain unemployed or find menial work that does not make best use of their education.”

“It is a waste of personal ability and the public investment in their education to place those with degrees into short-term, low-skilled jobs or even onto the dole queue when opportunities exist, in the form of internships, for them to develop skills, make a valuable contribution and earn graduate-level work.”

We call on the Government to expand its Work Experience Programme to ensure that unemployed graduates can undertake meaningful internships that offer an opportunity to progress to a permanent position. In 2011 Inspiring Interns formed a groundbreaking partnership with Job Centre Plus and the Work Experience Programme to help support graduates who want to undertake an internship. Thanks to the partnership, interns are able to receive JSA for a minimum of eight weeks during their internship. When graduates would otherwise be job hunting this scheme permits them to gain invaluable work experience at no additional cost. With this added work experience the likelihood of them getting a permanent graduate role is highly increased.

Since being founded in 2009, London’s leading internship provider has placed over 1,400 graduates into internships with SMEs that have offered real hands-on experience, 65% of whom secured full-time work with their host company. Ex-Inspiring Intern and author of Brilliant Intern, Andrew Scherer argues,

“We know from extensive experience that well-run internships are a solution to the graduate unemployment crisis. It is time for the Government to support them and reverse the worrying trend of joblessness among our university leavers.”