Leading graduate internship provider calls for a ‘Plan for Graduate Employment’

Employment figures published today show that more than one in three recent graduates are employed in lower skilled jobs. Commenting on today’s figures, leading graduate internship provider, Inspiring Interns called on the Government to give more priority to graduate unemployment including by reviewing the controversial Work Experience Programme to ensure that high quality placements are available to graduates.

Today’s figures demonstrate that, in a tough job market, graduates are remaining unemployed for lengthy periods or finding work that does not make best use of their education. Inspiring Interns have entered into a ground breaking agreement with Job Centre Plus to ensure that unemployed graduates can receive benefits whilst carrying out an internship.  However they are pushing for higher quality opportunities for graduates on the Government’s Work Experience Programme

Inspiring Interns Communications Director and author of Brilliant Intern, Andrew Scherer believes internships can be an innovative solution to helping jobless university leavers;

“65% of interns placed by II go on to full time paid roles – way above the national rate of 50% on work experience.  But internships should be predominantly about mentoring and teaching the intern so that employers feel confident that they will be valued and knowledgeable employees. There should be scope for paid employment after the internship period providing the intern has met the expectations of their employers.”

Inspiring Interns use innovative matching techniques such as video CVs to help graduates stand out in a very competitive labour market. The use of video CVs has been key to Inspiring Interns’ high level of client satisfaction believes Communications Director, Andrew Scherer:

“We have found that employers value video CVs in the recruitment process as it allows hiring managers to go beyond the paper CV and really get a feel for an applicant’s personality.”

Inspiring Intern Sophie Bennett, a French and Management Studies graduate had been applying for jobs for a while without success before she gained an internship through our services. Sophie has since been taken on by her host company and had this to say about her internship experience;

“My internship enabled me to gain my permanent position, without it I would not have been introduced to the company and the opportunity.”

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. 

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 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-14758464) 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.”

PMQs: Cameron plans to tackle youth unemployment with work experience placements

During yesterday’s Prime Minister’s Questions the Prime Minister was questioned about the recent rise in youth unemployment figures. David Cameron accepted the number of young people out of work was “unacceptably high”, but defends his Government’s efforts to tackle unemployment.

Towards the end of the 30 minute programme, Labour MP Chris Bryant asked the Prime Minister about what actions he is taking to deal with the one million unemployed young people:

“The personal damage caused by long term unemployment can be phenomenal. On average, somebody who is unemployed for more than 6 months are 6 times more likely to contract a serious mental health problem. Doesn’t the Prime Minister worry that we are going to have a generation of young people who will be suffering many of the problems of lack of self-esteem and never having a first job? Wouldn’t it make more sense to be guaranteeing every under 24 year old a job after 6 months being unemployed, paying them to work not paying them benefits?”

In his response, David Cameron defended the Government’s efforts and talked about the success of work experience placements:

“A very important point which is the scarring effect of youth unemployment. There are two very important things that we are doing to try and help that. First of all, helping within 3 months through the work programme for those not in employment, education and training rather than 6 months under the Future Jobs Fund. Secondly, one of the most successful schemes that there has been in recent years is giving people work experience placements. In many cases, and we will be producing evidence for this soon, it is actually leading to direct employment opportunities for those young people.”

Inspiring Interns support the Government’s plans of to offer work experience placements in the fight against youth unemployment. With increasing numbers of graduates entering the job market it has become vital for them to have meaningful work experience. We agree with his view that quality, well-structured internships can lead to employment opportunities. Our own statistics show that 65% of our graduate internships lead to permanent roles with the host company and the vast majority of the remaining 35% gain employment elsewhere as a result of the extra experience their internship provided.

Social mobility strategy

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced the launch of the Government’s social mobility strategy today.

Stating that no-one should get an unfair advantage purely because of “who they know”, the Liberal Democrat leader criticised Labour’s record in improving social mobility as he outlined how the Coalition intends to make Britain more meritocratic.

Clegg says that “fairness is one of the fundamental values of the Coalition Government”, with this new strategy aiming to create fair access to jobs and ensure that everyone has the opportunity to fulfil their potential. As a result, the Deputy Prime Minister says the scheme will make career progression less dependent on “who your father’s friends are”.

In advance of the strategy’s launch, Clegg says “We want a society in which success is based on what you know, not who you know or which family you are born into. So our social mobility drive is aimed at helping the majority of people to move up the rungs of the ladder of opportunity.”

A major part of the policy focuses on making work experience and internships a driving force in widening access to professions. The Coalition believes practical experience can provide young people with valuable opportunities and skills, as well as increasing their understanding of an industry. Most importantly, obtaining an internship can really boost employment chances.

They recognise, however, that internships can often be the preserve of those with existing connection within an industry. This is particularly true of popular sectors such as journalism, law and banking. The strategy aims to open up internships to everyone, not just the “well-connected”.

Employers and businesses will be encouraged to make their employment methods more transparent and offer internships on merit rather than through informal channels. They will also be expected to provide some kind of financial support to interns, with reasonable out of pocket expense to be reimbursed as a minimum. Both these measures match Inspiring Interns’ own commitment to fair internships. We advertise all our vacancies widely, so that it is not just those ‘in the know’ who can apply for our schemes, and our remuneration policy is one of lunch and travel expenses as a minimum.

We welcome the Government’s social mobility strategy and their support for fair and open internships. With ever increasing numbers of graduates entering a hugely competitive job market it has become crucial for university leavers to have meaningful work experience. Securing this experience should be about what you know, not who you know.

Save the Graduate Internship Scheme

The Federation of Small Businesses has today urged the Government to extend the Graduate Internship Scheme, which is due to expire in March.

Since the scheme launched in February 2010, it has helped 8,500 graduates to work in paid internships with small businesses in the UK. The figures from FSB reveal that 25 per cent of the graduates undertaking internships were offered full-time employment after their placement, while Inspiring Interns’ own experience is that around 65% of interns earn full-time jobs at their host company.

Last week saw further figures showing that unemployment figures are continuing to rise, with young people being hit hardest. The FSB says, “Unemployment in early life has a lasting impact, locking people into lives of low earnings and the recurring risk of unemployment. The Government will need to be bold and imaginative to avert this disaster.”

Against this backdrop, the Federation of Small Businesses deems the withdrawal of state-support for internships to be a mistake. They are urging the Government not only to retain the scheme but extend it to a further 5,000 graduates. The FSB believes the scheme can provide a good return on investment, reducing benefit payments and increasing taxes if the internships lead to permanent jobs.

Chairman of the FSB, John Walker, said: “The current graduate internship scheme has proved highly successful, with some interns going on to start their own companies and others being offered full-time positions with the business they interned for.”

“The UK’s young people are the future of the economy, yet we are seeing youth unemployment approaching one million. It is time that the Government invested into this vital sector so that we don’t see a generation of youngsters consigned to the dole queue”.

The Graduate Internship Scheme is an opportunity for graduates to gain experience and contacts within industry, enhance their CV, and ultimately boost their chances of permanent employment. This scheme not only gives them great work experience but also supports them financially.

Inspiring Interns fully backs the Graduate Internship Scheme and feels it will be a huge shame if the Government chooses to scrap the programme.

For more information on Inspiring Interns’ own positions please see http://www.inspiringinterns.com/interns/internship-offers/

Graduate unemployment figures highest in over a decade

One in five of those who have left university in the past year are unable to find work within six months, it was reported yesterday.

According to the Office for National Statistics graduate unemployment doubled in the third quarter of 2010 compared to pre-recession and soared to its highest level since the mid-90s.

The data suggests graduates have been hit hardest by the economic downturn. It emerged unemployment amongst university leavers increased faster than the jobless rate in the UK as a whole. The figures showed that graduate unemployment rose from 10.6% to 20% compared to the 5.2% to 7.9% total rise of UK unemployment.

The report will be seen as the latest setback to the Government’s plans to stabilise public finances. Liam Byrne, the shadow work and pensions secretary, said: This is grim news for Britain’s graduates. We have to stop this becoming a lost generation. The Government needs to change course to create more growth and jobs.

The report comes one month after government voted to triple the cap on student tuition fees. Student leaders fear that the rise in tuition plus the latest figures will deter more young people from higher education.

In response to the statistics Aaron Porter, president of the National Union of Students, said: Graduates are encountering an exceptionally hostile jobs market and the Government persists with policies that put the burden of the country’s debt on the young.

Sally Hunt, general secretary of the University and College Union, said: Today’s graduate unemployment figures are further bad news for students and young people.

Those who do make it through university are going to face a difficult job market without support, but saddled with record levels of debt.

However it is not all bad news. This report follows recent research suggesting a rise in graduate opportunities took place towards the end of the year. The Association of Graduate Recruiters yesterday reported an 8.9% annual increase in graduate jobs. The improving jobs market was driven by a surge of vacancies at the end of last year, says the survey, with a forecast of a further 3.8% increase for this year.

Carl Gilleard, chief executive of the AGR, says, This is good news the graduate job market is finally picking up, however the fact salaries are predicted to remain the same and fewer employers are offering financial incentives, is evidence demand for jobs still greatly outstrips supply.

With such a demand for jobs and with statistics of 45 applicants for every graduate job in 2011, graduates need extra on their CV to give themselves a better chance of securing a career they want.

Chris Grayling MP, Minister of Employment, says the priority should be creating financial stability, and that a new government work experience scheme would help make young people more employable

At Inspiring we believe an internship can be the perfect stepping stone between university and life afterwards. An internship will give you valuable experience; key skills; and the potential to build up a network of contacts in your chosen industry. As a result graduates will face a far better chance of a securing a job they want and starting their career

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Jan 2011
AUTHOR Hannah
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Young people hit hardest in the latest UK unemployment figures

According to figures released today, unemployment soared by 49,000 in the three months prior to November, with the total now standing at 2.5 million. There are also record numbers of young people out of work.

The bleak figures revealed that employment levels have fallen, redundancies have increased and the number of people classed as economically inactive has reached 9.3 million.

Employment is falling at its fastest rate since the recession and analysts expect the unemployment total to continue on rising in 2011. They believe it is partly due to the public sector spending cuts designed to cut the budget deficit.

The demographic hit hardest by the tough jobs market is 16 to 24 year olds, with the unemployment rate in this age group hitting 20.3%.  One in five young people are now out of work, after a rise of 32,000 to 951,000 without jobs, the highest figure since records began in 1992.

Martina Milburn, chief executive of youth charity The Prince’s Trust, explains, Britain is now perilously close to seeing one million young people struggling to find work.

With this record number of youth unemployment in the UK, TUC general secretary Brendan Barber argues, With more than a fifth of young people out of work, we face a real danger of losing another generation of young people to unemployment and wasted ambition.

Experts agree the UK economy is not growing fast enough to bring down unemployment and that a radical approach by the government is needed.  Barber believes, With the worst of the cuts still to come, this government risks making high joblessness a permanent feature of our economy. It must change course before it too late.

His call for change is echoed by Inspiring Interns.  The job market remains competitive for graduates, as it does for everyone; graduates therefore need to equip themselves with valuable skills to boost their employment chances. At Inspiring Interns we feel internships are an important route for young people to get into the job market. A meaningful internship will not only boost the economy but create great opportunities for small businesses and most importantly get young people into work.

19
Jan 2011
AUTHOR Hannah
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Will you be affected by public sector job cuts?

The Government recently announced that from August to October this year unemployment in the UK increased by 35,000 to 2.5 million, forcing the UK unemployment rate to 7.9%.  Whilst this is mainly due to the loss of 33,000 public sector jobs, the government will soon to pile on more depressing news.  100,000 public servants are likely to have their Christmas ruined by a letter stating that their jobs are at risk, in the face of local council budget cuts and the need to reduce the number of posts by March 31st.

Further statistics reveal that male unemployment increased by 11,000, while the number of unemployed women rose by 24,000 to 1.24 million, which is the highest total since 1988.

Clearly stating what is on everyone’s mind, the chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, John Walker said that “with inflation expected to remain above 3% in the foreseeable future, combined with public sector job cuts, these unemployment statistics are a worrying sign.”

So, as a recent graduate, where does this leave you?  For those who work in the public sector, or were looking to do so, the spectre of unemployment is sadly all too real.  However, there is a (dim) light at the end of the tunnel.

At Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday David Cameron was quick to point out that the move away from reliance on public services to raise employment levels was already underway: Over the last six months, we have seen [the creation of] 300,000 new private sector jobs.

Evidently the Government is confident the private sector will be able to fill Britain’s increasing unemployment problems. Although Cameron’s statistics suggest this could be viable, there will undoubtedly be a lot more competition for the available jobs which will only enhance the current cut throat environment surrounding the job hunt. This downward pressure on the market will be felt most acutely by graduates who lack experience but are coming up against candidates with one-two years of working under their belts.

Students and university leavers therefore need to equip themselves as best they can before heading into the job market jungle.  A CV full of transferable skills and experience relevant to the world of work is the key to impressing employers and an internship is a great way to pack your CV with employer-friendly material. So with tough times potentially around the corner act now to insulate your career against the economic cold.

Confidence in graduate job market hits a 15 year low

source – eduinreview

For one recent graduate it all gets a bit too overwhelming.

It’s grim up North; or so the saying goes. Well now it seems that it’s grim up North, down South and anywhere else in-between, according to a recent survey of final year students at 30 of the UK’s top universities. The study, carried out by High Fliers, concluded that 45% of university leavers believed that their prospects upon finishing were ‘very limited’. Considering that the recent recession is officially over, the aftermath of the banking crisis seems to be playing heavily on the minds of graduates.

Possibly the most disturbing of all of the findings is that one in six wouldn’t have gone to university at all if they’d known about how tough it would be to find work upon finishing. Many are scared that jobs available will be snapped up by 2009 graduates, however speaking as an ’09 grad myself I am vigilant of the reverse coming into effect. Martin Birchill, Managing Director of High Fliers commented, “Our latest survey shows that final year students due to leave UK universities this summer are just as pessimistic about their employment prospects as those who graduated twelve months ago… with a record number of students due to complete degrees in the coming weeks and tens of thousands of last year’s graduates still looking for work, there is widespread concern on campus that competition for graduate jobs has never been fiercer.”

These figures paint a stark profile of graduate unemployment but yet again the Government have failed to differentiate between youth unemployment as a whole and the plight of those in higher education. In a repost to the survey’s findings, Minister of State for Universities and Science, David Willetts said, “The jobs market continues to be very tough for young people, who were among the biggest losers during the recession. There continues to be enormous value in higher education and that is why we also are committed to offering an extra 10,000 university places this year.” As we have continued to say time and time again, herding more young people into university will only make the problem of the saturation of the graduate job market even worse; how long will it be until the government realise this?

Although in reality this survey is only a snapshot of graduate opinions, a fifth of final year students were interviewed and the assumptions that can be drawn are worrying to say the least. Following the announcement of dramatic spending cuts in Whitehall, the post-recession bubble seems to have been well and truly burst. With dark times ahead, the next few years for graduates are forecast to be a bleak period.