Milburn Summary

Its absolutely fantastic that after banging on about this issue for months and months, I can turn on Radio 4 and hear a proper discussion taking place about internships in the modern work-place.

A PDF of Alan Milburn’s report is found below:

Milburn Report- Fair Access to the Professions

Milburn Report- Summary and Recommendations

Chapter 7 is entirely dedicated to internships.  Essentially the report tells us what we already know. The geographical and cost barriers to undertaking internships are mentioned, as is the variable quality of many internships themselves.

He concludes:

“Internships are accessible only to some when they should be open to all who have aptitude. Currently employers are missing out on talented people – and talented people are missing opportunities to progress. There are negative consequences for social mobility and for fair access to the professions. A radical change is needed. We propose ways of making internships more accessible, more transparent and more widely available to many more people. We do so in a way that is fair to employers as well as to interns. We welcome the good work that some professions are doing already and want to support others to follow – making the prospect of an internship a possibility for all.”

Follows, is a summary of the reports recommendations on internships:

Recommendation 47: The professions, the Government, trade unions and the third sector should together produce a common best practice code for high-quality internships.

Recommendation 48: Each profession should make employers in its field aware of the best practice code and encourage them to adopt it for all relevant internship and work experience placements (including university ‘sandwich’ courses).

Recommendation 49: The Government should develop the Talent Pool Internship Portal to become a single website for all pre- and postgraduate internships.

Recommendation 50: The Government should ensure that the Talent Pool Internship Portal has an advertising budget that is sufficient to ensure that it has a high- profile launch. It should target students who would otherwise not be aware of these opportunities, pre-university students who might not know that financial help towards a professional career is available, and schools with a high proportion of children on free school meals.

Recommendation 51: The professions, the Government, trade unions and the third sector should agree an Internship Quality Kitemark scheme for high-quality internship programmes. The Kitemark should set out the criteria that a high-quality internship placement should meet (based on the common best practice code for high-quality internships proposed in recommendation 47).

Recommendation 52: Each professional association should make the acceptance and use of the best practice code and Kitemark a condition of being a member of the professional association, and accept responsibility for making employers in its field aware of both.

Recommendation 53: Universities should take responsibility for ensuring that their ‘sandwich’ courses are in line with the common best practice code for high-quality internships and meet the Kitemark standards.

Recommendation 54: The National Union of Students, Trades Union Congress and the Government should work together to take forward an outreach programme to ensure that students from all backgrounds give due consideration to undertaking an internship.

Recommendation 55: The Talent Pool Internship Portal should go further in developing and promoting its forum where ex-interns can post reviews of the internships that they have undertaken.

Recommendation 56: The Government should allow students to draw down their existing Student Loan entitlement in four parts, rather than the current three, so enabling students to be able to cover the additional costs of undertaking a short summer internship. The Government should review how to appropriately target additional loan support to such students through this window.

Recommendation 57: The Government should explore ways of providing means-tested micro-loans to interns to cover the cost of living and commuting for a short internship period.

Recommendation 58: Companies offering internships should be given the option to pay a small part of their tax contribution directly to the Student Loans Company to cover the cost of the internship loans and associated administrative costs.

Recommendation 59: The Government should work with banks and other lending institutions to provide internship support loans to be used to cover the costs associated with undertaking an internship. Such loans could be made along similar lines to Professional and Career Development Loans.

Recommendation 60: Provision of all government-brokered or -supported financial assistance for interns should be dependent upon the internship placement in question having received the Internship Quality Kitemark. Professions should stipulate a similar restriction upon any financial assistance provided or brokered by them for similar purposes. Universities should support the Kitemark scheme by advertising it to students who are looking for internships

Recommendation 61: The professions should provide more support for interns from lower socio-economic backgrounds through grants and loans. The Government should recognise the efforts of those employers that provide such support for interns by granting tax relief on money that is provided for grants and loans.

Recommendation 62: Professions should work directly with banks and other lending institutions to provide privately brokered financing for those studying for relevant professional qualifications.

Recommendation 63: The professions should create an online resource that sets out the range of profession-specific financial support that is available for prospective interns and students of professional qualifications. The online resource should set out what support is available, where it can be accessed, the criteria used to disburse it and the various application methods and deadlines. Such information should be advertised on professional websites, as well as on the Government’s Talent Pool Internship Portal.

Recommendation 64: Universities should provide low-cost or free accommodation for young people undertaking internships during university vacations. Universities should work with the Government to set up a matching service for prospective interns.

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