SMEs to Benefit from Graduate Talent

The Government has joined forces with the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) to offer up to 10,000 graduates a boost to their future employability, through internships in small and micro businesses announced the Prime Minister Gordon Brown today.

The Prime Minister said:

“Our guarantee to all young people is that with millions of new opportunities from apprenticeships to internships to a new class of modern technicians, we will discover, coach, develop and showcase the wealth of aspiration and talent that exists in Britain.

“To add to the 100, 000 new young people’s jobs we are already creating, we can today 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.”

Federation of Small Businesses National Chairman John 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.

“The Government’s pledge to set up 10,000 skilled internships is a real victory for the FSB and a victory for small businesses across the country.

“This will help those graduates leaving university at a time when the job market is sluggish at best – they will get real work experience and develop real skills. And small firms will benefit from the skills of this workforce, which they traditionally find harder to recruit. Research from previous schemes shows that one in four graduates are also offered full-time employment in the business at the end of their placement.

“The FSB is committed to promoting this scheme among its membership, and to encouraging all small businesses to link up with university careers services to offer vacancies and create placements.”

Minister for Higher Education David Lammy added:

“I am delighted that the FSB is going to use its network to encourage its members to take advantage of the talent on offer from our recent graduates.

“We believe this will give more graduates the chance to work on serious projects, getting hands on experience of working in businesses and to understand the potential which exists in the small and micro business sector.”

The Federation of Small Businesses, which represents 215,000 small businesses across the UK, will campaign to encourage its members to offer these internships in addition to places already on offer under existing schemes. This will take the total number of opportunities to 20,000, with 10,000 in small businesses.

The extra places being announced today will be funded through a grant, administered through Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and the universities who will administer the scheme. That will provide £100 per week towards the wage costs involved. Employers will meet the balance. University Careers services will help match graduates to the opportunities available.

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