What is the National Internship Scheme?


What are your thoughts on the recently announced government National Intern Scheme (see this [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/4210088/National-intern-scheme-to-help-graduates-through-the-recession.html article])? So far Barclays and Microsoft have joined the scheme, which sets out plans to push companies to hire graduates for 3-month periods as interns. However, many people are saying that most companies already hire interns… so will this scheme really do anything?

Also… many students already do internships during university. Would you want to do MORE interning, once you’ve graduated?


Today’s Guardian ([http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/jan/13/labour-unemploymentdata see article]) reveals that the government will pay up to £2,500 to each company that hires an out-of-work graduate as an intern (in particular graduate who have been out of work for six months or more).

Does anyone else think this scheme is very badly thought out?


When does this scheme actually become effective? Now or later?

I wouldnt mind one of these internships anytime during the next 8 months. How do i go about getting one exactly and find out which companies are doing it? Do you just apply straight to the company or through a government portal / Job seekers centre?

We need a running commentary about when this scheme is officially launched as i want to apply asap.


WikiJob will call the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (the government dept organising this) and figure out what’s going on.

Please post up any questions on this thread and you can be sure we will find out answers for you.


Thanks that will definitely be helpful. Any juicy info you can get from the Department would be great. Press them! The sooner they start it up the better. I hope they’re not going to delay it or scrap it.

It WILL help people, maybe not everyone who goes on it, but a lot will benefit and its better than giving the same people JSA for sitting at home making applications to things they may never get. Some interns may even benefit from getting a full time role out of it if they impress enough.


The news is things will start from April.

Here is the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills’ press release on the National Internship Scheme, from Monday:

Monday 12 January 2009
‘‘Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (National)’’

‘’‘Guaranteed extra help for people unemployed for six months’’’

£83 million to offer around 75,000 people high quality training places to help them back into work over the next two years was announced today by Skills Secretary John Denham as part of the Government’s new support package for people out of work.

Combined with the new money already announced to help those facing redundancy as a result of the downturn, the additional help will support people who have been out of work for more than six months. Overall the investment will mean that 100,000 people will be given support to help them back into work.

The proposals will see 75,000 new training places in colleges and other training providers and are part of a radical shake-up of further education (FE). This will allow people to train while they are looking for a job and carry on with their course once they get into work. The changes also mean that FE colleges will be paid to get people into work.

John Denham said:

"We will not make the mistakes of the past and just leave people abandoned on the dole, or push them onto sickness benefit.

"We will do everything we can to help people through this tough time and help them prepare for the economic upturn when it comes.

"We know that people whose skills are up to date are much more likely to find a good job, and that employers with well trained staff survive a recession much better than firms which don’t invest in skills.

“This is an investment in the long-term future of our people and our economy. In the future there will be far fewer jobs for people with no skills but the number of high-skilled jobs will grow. Britain will need skilled workers if it is going to compete.”

While the Government cannot guarantee existing jobs in any economic climate, the new measures will help people get the skills and qualifications that will boost their prospects of getting a new job.
Today’s package aims to give people confidence that if they lose their jobs, there will be real help available so they can improve their skills or gain new ones so that they are fit for the jobs of the future.

The Government’s primary aim is to keep the time people spend out of work keep to a minimum while making the return to work a stepping stone to a more skilled future. This will ensure that a period of unemployment can be an opportunity for people to gain the skills they will need to get on in work in the future, and take advantage of likely expansion areas as the economy improves.

The Government is initially offering 75,000 new training places in colleges and other training providers for job-seekers who reach the 6 month point on Job Seekers Allowance.

This will be flexible, job-focused training to equip them with economically valuable skills, helping them to secure new employment. It will be supported by a training allowance to enable a period of full-time training where that is needed.

The new training support for unemployed people will have the following key features:

  • Training programmes while participants are unemployed will be employment-focused, offering a range of opportunities to gain skills. Building on previous announcements, we will be offering both programmes to prepare for job entry, and more specific training in new skills that equip people for new jobs.
  • Colleges and other training providers will offer flexible courses that will not conflict with availability for work or delay entry to the job market. So people who enrol on training courses will not be put in the position of having to choose between a job or completing their training. They will be able to combine the training with active job search, take a new job as soon as they are able to find one, and, with their new employer’s agreement, be supported to complete the training part-time in work after they have started their new job.
  • Colleges and training providers will have incentives to use the work-based Train to Gain programme, to support those who gain new jobs to pursue further progression towards accredited qualifications of known value in the labour market. Qualifying providers will demonstrate strong links through to Train to Gain thereby ensuring a seamless journey for the individual and real value for the employer.
  • Payments to colleges and training providers will relate to the training delivered, but with a clear performance objective to help customers gain sustainable employment. We want providers to have incentives to get customers back into work as quickly as possible, testing a combination of rewards that ensures providers aim for sustainable employment and completion of training, in line with our integrated welfare and skills approach. This is an important part of our wider approach to focussing further education on flexible delivery of training that has real economic value for learners and employers.

The Learning and Skills Council, Jobcentre Plus, Regional Development Agencies and Sector Skills Councils are working together in each region and nationally to identify where recruitment levels remain stronger, and where, even in the downturn, there remain job vacancies and skills shortages. Using that intelligence, they will work closely together to deliver the joint regional response we have previously announced. This is part of the transformation of the Further Education sector with a stronger focus on employment outcomes and delivering the productivity-enhancing provision that employers seek.

Research shows that the best way of helping people gain sustainable employment is through a support package that combines active search for a new job with effective work-related training. It is vital that this training helps people quickly back into sustainable employment and does not detach them from the labour market, while also enabling people to gain skills that have real value for employers.

‘‘Notes to editors’’

  1. The Government has already announced £158million in additional skills funding to help those affected by redundancy, boosting the provision of shorter training programmes focussed on preparing for job-entry. Building on that, this additional targeted activity for people at the 6 month gateway will broaden the support available, bringing the total number of new training places to over 100,000.

  2. Through the Learning and Skills Council, we will invite colleges and training providers to put forward proposals for offering the additional places, on the conditions described above, up to an initial total of 75,000 new places. Additional funding of £83million will be allocated for those places. We will be looking particularly to work with colleges and training providers that are already successfully working with employers, and who demonstrate the greatest flexibility and responsiveness in helping participants boost their prospects of sustainable employment.

  3. Today’s announcement has been announced jointly with the Department for Work and Pensions at a Job Summit hosted by the Prime Minister at the Science Museum in London.


Today’s article in the [http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/cd38e9fe-e0e7-11dd-b0e8-000077b07658.html Financial Times] seems to suggest industry aren’t convinced by this scheme…

‘’‘Little welcome for £2,500 golden hellos’’’

By Andrew Taylor and Alex Barker (published in the Financial Times) January 12 2009

Business offered a lukewarm response on Monday to plans to pay employers to hire the unemployed.

They argued that the subsidy was better suited to a recovery than a severe downturn.

Gordon Brown, the UK prime minister, announced the £500m package at a “jobs summit”, saying payments of up to £2,500 to recruit and train people were a “tried and tested” way to prevent unemployment becoming entrenched. But even as he outlined the initiative, companies in sectors ranging from retail to construction equipment revealed plans to cut about 3,000 jobs. Business leaders urged Mr Brown to supplement the scheme with initiatives to “stop people being made unemployed in the first place”. John Cridland, deputy director-general of the CBI employers’ body, said: “We believe that the best way to protect jobs and the economy is to target the credit crunch.”

Meanwhile David Frost, director-general of the British Chambers of Commerce, questioned whether employers would take up “golden hellos” when they were struggling to pay existing staff. He said the measures “will be more effective when a recovery starts”.

Unemployment in Britain has reached 1.8m people. Some economists predict jobless levels could rise to 3m by 2010, potentially providing a grim backdrop for the next election.

James Purnell, welfare secretary, said the initiative was designed to ensure “we will not write off a generation” by doing nothing to support the long-term unemployed. But David Cameron, Conservative leader, claimed the “golden hello” was lifted from his own plan. “It’s a cut-and-paste job,” he said.

The Tory plan would have been “more aggressive”, he added, since it would have applied to anyone unemployed for more than three months, rather than six.

The scheme will come into force in April. Job centre advisers can offer up to £1,000 to employers taking on staff or jobless people moving into self-employment. Another £1,500 is available for training.

Aides to Mr Purnell insisted that there would be no “dead weight cost” from the scheme, as advisers would use their discretion to withhold the subsidy for people who would have been employed anyway.

Officials also plan to introduce safeguards to exclude any companies that sack staff and rehire others to benefit from the subsidy. They estimate that up to 325,000 people could benefit from the “golden hello”.

Land of Leather, the furniture retailer, confirmed on Monday that it had been placed into administration, putting 850 jobs at risk. Waterford Wedgwood, the tableware maker, said it would be cutting nearly 400 jobs while JCB, the construction equipment group, blamed the lack of credit for axing 684 staff.


Hot off the press… we spoke to the Dius today. There’s actually not a lot of information available. All they can say is that - Yes - the national internship scheme has the funding and WILL happen… but when it will be ready to go is another matter - they don’t know. They don’t know if there will be a website for students to apply through… or if students will apply direct to employers.

We will keep you posted on all information about this.


Yes theres a lot of negative press about it, the employers are basically saying £2,500 isnt enough, but mind you if the government was offering £10k per person hired then there would be less complaints i think.

Anyway I have a question relating to elgibility. Seems like you have to have been receiving JSA benefits for 6 months and be ‘officially’ unemployed in order to qualify for this.

Ive been unemployed but not claiming benefits as ive been living with parents who luckily support me, and in part of that time i was looking for a graduate job starting next year so I dont think i was entitled to claim as I wasnt looking for an immediate job (which is one of the rules for it). Having found a graduate job starting later in the year, I have been looking for immediate work for several months now, although I have still not signed up to receive benefits and to be honest I dont really want to, i just want to find work.

So will someone like me, who is involuntary unemployed but not officially ‘signed on’, be able to get one of these internships? It seems unlikely, despite the fact that ive technically been unemployed since july 2008.


First of all - these internships won’t be available until June/July 2009 at the very earliest (and having spoken to the Dius I get the impression that things won’t be ready even by then).

Second - the Dius couldn’t tell me if you’d have to be signed on or not when I quizzed them today. I imagine not - but maybe… it would make more sense for the government to offer it to people not claiming benefit though really - if you think about it, they wouldn’t want to encourage people to be out of work and on the dole… at least, I don’t think they would…

If you have a job for next September set up I would not even consider this scheme as an option. It won’t be ready in time for you…




oh well… :frowning: will be unemployed for 8 months then…


Get a job at Sainsbury’s?!

What’s your graduate job for September?


I will probably end up having to do exactly that…and even then there is no gurantee since so many people are applying and there are fewer positions, even in supermarkets.

For now Im still holding out for a ‘proper job’ so i can get some experience for something else that i may decide to go into later in life and will give me greater responsibilities. Applying takes so much time in itself - it is almost a job! My grad job is in tax at kpmg.


Hi All,

I am the co-founder of WEXO (Work Experience Online) <www.wexo.co.uk> – a niche networking community for those requiring or offering work experience, internships and jobs. We have been in this space for a while and have also been lobbying parliament (on both sides) for much needed answers re the National Internship Scheme. We are meeting various political figures next week and will have more info on this in due course which we will share here.

DEMOCRATISATION OF WORK EXPERIENCE: As per Alan Milburn’s comments (see Andy Grice’s article in Monday’s Independent about ending a “self perpetuating system in which work-experience placements and first jobs often go to the children of colleagues, friends and family.”), we have been banging this drum for a while and are all about providing EVERYONE with ACCESS to ‘dynamic’ and ‘aspirational’ companies in particular. Access (in our experience) is best provided to today’s students online where they invariable spend their time. Web 2.0 tools also allow companies to cherry pick the most suitable people as and when they want them (using our customised filtration technology which offsets the need to trawl through piles of CVs).

SCEPTICISM: The sceptics are saying that there is no way the DIUS can afford the internship scheme and even if they can, the chances of getting anything responsive and innovative in good time are slim – so another government initiative that is long on rhetoric and short on substance. Some people are even going one step further and saying that government know that things will get worse when 3-400,000 graduates hit the job market in the summer and are just hedging themselves by using the scheme to stop graduates falling into the unemployment stats which are already worrying.

SIZE DOESN’T ALWAYS MATTER: The government seem to be asking the large multi-nationals for their views on Internships (most are responding that they are happy to support the initiatives but it is very much just ‘business as usual’) and we are being told that they should be listening to and absorbing the views of organisations like the British Chamber of Commerce (the voice of 6,000 SMEs who constitute the backbone of our economy and a large portion of WEXO’s universe of companies) who are using words like 'awful and ‘frightening’ to describe the sheer speed of economic decline. We are getting support for our belief that internships give companies and users a cost effective and non-binding solution to budget and staffing concerns allowing them to try each other out before they commit to more permanent arrangements. Furthermore, if there really are half a million vacant position in the UK then they are probably with the smaller companies (who don’t have the reach and resources of their larger counterparts) and we are trying to give them the tools to access potential employees for free (c.f. £300+ on Monster et al). We are finding that many of them are happy to pay fair money to the right people in regard to all of internships, part time work and full time jobs.

We have a number of interesting opportunities available on our site. Please visit www.wexo.co.uk for more info.