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.”

What about the grads? ACEVO report into youth unemployment: a response

Inspiring Interns welcomes the ACEVO report Youth unemployment: the crisis we cannot afford. It rightly identifies the number of young people currently out of work as ‘one of the greatest challenges facing the country’. The report contains valuable analysis of the landscape that school leavers encounter when their formal education comes to an end and a number of well thought-out solutions to the problems they face.

It is, however, important to note that there is another significant group of young people that have serious difficulties trying to enter the labour market after education: university graduates. There is no mention of graduates in the ACEVO report, despite the fact that research suggests around 28% of the class of 2007 are still not in full-time employment (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-14758464). While it is undoubtedly true that university leavers are better placed to enter the world of work than school leavers, clearly a concerted effort is required to ensure this stratum of jobseekers does not bear the brunt of current economic difficulties and long-term structural problems. Currently, there is no graduate-specific Government provision for unemployed graduates, meaning those that do turn to organisations such as Job Centre Plus rarely receive the tailored support that would enable them to find suitable employment.

Inspiring Interns accepts that the current job market is no place for a misplaced sense of entitlement. Nevertheless it is a patent waste of personal ability and economic capacity to place those with degrees into short-term, low-skilled jobs when opportunities exist, in the form of internships, for them to develop skills and earn graduate-level work. In addition to ACEVO’s recommendations, we call on the Government to expand its Work Experience Programme to ensure that unemployed graduates can undertake meaningful internships that offer a genuine opportunity to progress to a permanent job. Currently many Job Centres are reluctant to refer graduates onto the Work Experience Programme or find them inappropriate positions.

Since being founded in 2009, Inspiring Interns have placed 1,400 graduates into internships with SMEs that have offered real hands-on experience, 65% of which have become permanent jobs. There is undoubtedly appetite among both employers and jobseekers for such opportunities – it is vital that the Government supports both parties and fosters this path to employment.