8.1% of youth claim jobless benefit

Students on work experience at KPMG
Students on work experience at KPMG

DURING a week in which unemployment figures showed there are 1,545 people aged 18 to 24 claiming Job Seekers’ Allowance in Milton Keynes, two firms have been doing their bit to help young people gain crucial work experience.

The local figure, which represents 8.1 per cent of all the people of that age group, is a higher proportion than the national average 7.5 per cent, and the south east regional average of five per cent.

Young people represent about 24 per cent of the total number of benefit claimants, recorded in July, in the new city.

But for the lucky few at KPMG, in North Fourth Street, and PwC in Midsummer Boulevard, Milton Keynes, things haven’t been so grim.

KPMG has been taking part in the firm’s vacation programme with two university students and one work experience student joining the office to gain business insight and skills.

Second year university students Johnny Luk and Daniel Ashmore are spending their summer working within the audit practice as paid interns.

In addition, 20-year-old Bedford student Alex Symonds has also joined the office as part of a work experience programme.

David Neale, head of audit at KPMG in Milton Keynes said: “The students are able to use this experience to enhance their CV and improve their employment prospects in a very competitive environment.”

As part of the graduate scheme, the students will have an interview at the end of their programme, where they could potentially get offered a job to start back with KPMG in October 2012 as graduates.

PwC, the professional services firm, opened its doors across the country to 351 paid interns, including six in Milton Keynes. A total of 78 applications were made to Milton Keynes.

Mike Robinson, senior partner at PwC in Milton Keynes, said: “Programmes like this demand more of employers and students, but it’s an investment that pays off and often results in the interns becoming permanent employees with the firm.”

The first tranche of placements ended on August 5 and a second set will run until September 9.

PwC will recruit a record 1,600 students and graduates this year. Over 27,000 have applied since applications opened in September 2010.