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The Prime Minister Gordon Brown recently announced 5,000 graduate internships available for small businesses which sit alongside 3,500 announced as part of Backing Young Britain for other priority areas. HEFCE will work with HEIs, Regional Development Agencies, Higher Education Regional Associations and the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) to deliver graduate internships in each region.

Funding should be used to place graduates with small businesses or employers in one of the priority areas, which were set out in the Government's strategy document 'Building Britain's Future – New Industry, New Jobs'. These are:

  • low-carbon products and services
  • digital industry
  • life sciences and pharmaceuticals
  • advanced manufacturing
  • professional and financial services
  • engineering construction
  • industrial opportunities presented by the ageing society.

Interested HEIs should work closely with business to deliver and support graduate internships. The FSB has committed to promoting the initiative to its members.

HEFCE will provide £1,600 for each internship. Employers will also contribute funding to ensure that graduates are paid to at least the level of the minimum wage. Through this additional funding, institutions will be able to place significantly more graduates with suitable organisations in ways which provide a useful and productive experience for both the graduate and the employer.

Applications for funding should be submitted by 7 December. Funding will be confirmed for successful applications and activity will start in January.