With the Government putting increasing emphasis on unpaid internships as the answer to graduate unemployment we thought we would take a look at a successful scheme run by the University of Manchester, which links up employers and students with PAID internship schemes offering graduate level work.
I certainly wish the scheme had been better advertised while I was at Manchester – because they have managed to get 65 students in placements this year, paying at least minimum wage. Industries offering internships range from engineering and lab work to IT and marketing.
The emphasis, says Anne Milligan, the programme coordinator, is on “helping small businesses access talented graduates” and making sure they are offering “graduate level work”. Inspections are done to make sure interns are not making cups of tea or spending six months photocopying.
This is the way a graduate internships scheme should be done, and benefits both the graduates, and small businesses in the region.
The scheme was dreamt up in 2008 with 42 placements, and is steadily growing. Already this year 5 grads have been offered permanent positions. Who can argue with that?
If anyone approaches them with an unpaid position they tell them where to go. Anne described unpaid work as “dreadful” and “devaluing what graduates can offer”. Three cheers for Manchester University Careers Service!