Demos calls for internships for Neets

17 Aug 10
Government should reward employers who give work experience and training to troubled youngsters, a think-tank says today

By Vivienne Russell

17 August 2010

Government should reward employers who give work experience and training to troubled youngsters, a think-tank says today.

A report from Demos says a state payment of up to £5,000 for every successful intern an employer takes on would help mitigate the costs of supporting young people not in employment, education or trainings (Neets). Supporting 16 to 18-year-olds who are Neets costs the state approximately £4.6bn a year.

The government’s Panelon Fair Access to the Professions found that internships were effective ways of boosting an individual’s chances of employment. But Demos says these tend to be dominated by middle-class university leavers. It wants to open internship up to disadvantaged young people, such as care leavers and young offenders.

Demos director Julia Margo said: ‘Getting at-risk young people into internships will go a long way to given them the opportunities and aspirations open to middle-class graduates – we should think of them as a “non-graduate talent pool”.

‘More important than paying people to intern is making sure they learn the skills they need. A quality internship that pays only expenses is far more valuable than one that pays people a low wage to do menial jobs.’

The report was published jointly with the Foyer Federation, which runs a community volunteering programme for young people, helping them with education, training and employments.

Foyer Federation chief executive Jane Slowey said: ‘Targeted investment in talent-building approaches can reap significant returns and benefits by helping young people and their services and communities, to unlock unused potential.’

Meanwhile, research from the Institute for Public Policy Research and the Private Equity Foundation has found that the risk of becoming Neet has increased by 40% since the onset of the recession. The risk has increased fastest for those young people with A levels and degrees.

Co-director of the IPPR Lisa Harker said that, despite this statistic, young people with qualifications were better protected than their unqualified peers and likely to do better when the economy recovers.

‘The challenges facing young people with no qualifications are not just the result of the recession. Over a third of this group were already Neet before the recession began. This suggests a long-term problem, the causes of which are not connected to the recent economic upheaval. It is important not to lose sight of this challenge at a time when many are focusing on the high numbers of graduates who cannot find work,’ she said.

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