THE Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has urged the Government to extend its highly successful Graduate Internship Scheme, which is due to come to an end next month.
Unemployment figures to the end of December 2010 showed that almost one million 16 to 24-year-olds are out of work and that youth unemployment has reached 20.5%.
Since February 2010, the Graduate Internship Programme has supported paid internships in small businesses for 8,500 graduates.
However, this scheme will be scrapped next month - a move which the FSB sees as a major mistake.
FSB national shairman John Walker said: “The current Graduate Internship Scheme has proved highly successful, with some interns going on to start their own companies and others being offered full-time positions with the business they interned for.
“The UK’s young people are the future of the economy, yet we are seeing youth unemployment approaching one million.
“It is time that the Government invested into this vital sector so that we don’t see a generation of youngsters consigned to the dole queue.”
In its new paper ‘FSB plea to save the Graduate Intern Scheme’ the FSB details how, through investment to extend the scheme, at least 5,000 new internships placements could be made at a cost to the Government of £8m – instantly reducing benefit payments by at least £1.5m.