An expert has suggested that introducing a minimum wage for interns could lead to an increase in the number of youngsters applying for such schemes, despite concerns from bosses and unions.

Responding to recent recommendations from the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development, Work Wise UK chief executive Phil Flaxton acknowledged that some companies may be forced to reconsider their provision of internships as a result.

“It depends on how many interns you have, whether you have 50 or 3,000. That is quite an additional cost to find,” he said. “Providing the organisation can absorb the cost, I guess it is a win-win situation for both parties.”

Mr Flaxton added that paid internships could make it easier for youngsters to break into competitive sectors such as the media, earning enough to cover the costs associated with lengthy placements.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber issued a cautious response to the proposal, suggesting it could give unscrupulous firms an opportunity to exploit the system and cut down on salary expenses.

Posted by Hayley Edwards