Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Opinion: Gordon Brown's internships...

"Credit crunch", "Economic downturn", "Sub-prime", ah yes the media do love a good soundbite to repeat to death, I should know, I want to work as someone who makes them up.

But with journalists being named one of the three biggest industries to have been affected by the current economy, that ambition may well be some way off when this budding reporter graduates in May.

So when, Gordon Brown said he was about to unveil a new scheme set to help soon to be graduates like myself, it was with much anticipation I tuned in to listen to what the PM had to say.

On reflection, it wasn't worth the effort.

An estimated 300,000 students are set to graduate this summer into the worst economic crisis since the depression of the 1930's.

Something, obviously, needs to be done and you have to applaud the PM for at least recognising that the issue exists. But that's about the only positive you can take from this scheme which leaves a lot to be desired.

The idea is for highly respected employers, such as Microsoft and Barclays, to take on 3,500 graduates for a 3 month internship this summer. This will be funded by the government.

This is bizarre on so many levels.

Firstly, where's the money going to come from? Surely the debt of this country is great enough already.

Then there's the fact that only 3,500 students will be awarded places on these schemes. Its a drop in the ocean in comparison to the bigger picture, what about the rest of the new graduates?

Of course, even if you do gain admission to one of these internships then you are only going to be there three months and then you're just going to be shown the door, and you'll have the same problem as before only three months down the line.

The thinking behind this is that its supposed to make graduates appear more employable, but isn't paying £3,000 a year for your degree supposed to do that in the first place?

At least Brown is trying, but the embattled PM is only putting up a short term solution here in a time which needs long term planning for the future.

The lack of which, in fact, got us into this mess in the first place...