According to the Institute of Student Employer’s (ISE) annual recruitment survey, in the academic year 2019/20, there were 29% fewer short-term internships and 25% fewer placements. This marks the biggest decline in the last ten years.
Many students apply for internships because they provide new skills and invaluable work experience, which enhance their CVs and make them more interesting for future employers. Moreover, the businesses benefit as well, as 50% of their former interns are later hired permanently.
However, due to the pandemic, there are many problems and difficult decisions employers have to face concerning their existing employees. Although it may be beneficial to hire students, it is not necessary for their businesses to survive.
In some university courses, a placement year is either a mandatory, highly recommendable or optional part of the programme. However, with the current situation, many students who have been promised a placement won't necessarily get one.
One of the solutions that has already been implemented is the virtual internship, with many employers offering interns the chance to work from home.
ISE has also created a “Plan for the reconstruction of the student labour market”, to help raise the number of internships available.
The project aims to encourage the government to support employers during the COVID-19 pandemic. This in turn will then enable employers to hire a larger proportion of young people.
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