Charity launches campaign for 140-hour paid internships

Written by: Pete Henshaw | Published:
Image: Adobe Stock

Employers are being urged to commit to offering 140-hour paid internships to young people as part of a new social mobility campaign.

The national charity Career Ready, which works to pair teenagers from low-income backgrounds with employers, is leading the 140 Hours campaign.

At a time when businesses are being hit by the new Apprenticeship Levy, the charity argues that paid four-week internships are an effective way of finding potential recruits.

The 140 hours has been chosen because this is considered to be the minimum amount of time needed to ensure a placement or internship is effective, including giving students the time to build team-work skills, confidence and to work on and complete a project.

The initiative is also aimed at ending the practice of unpaid internships, which are usually only accessible for people from richer families.

Anne Spackman, chief executive of Career Ready, said: “Now is the time for employers to think about the very best ways to recruit and retain apprentices in order to boost social mobility, bridge the skills gap and develop a talent pipeline. We want to make internships the norm, not the exception; for the many, not for the few; paid rather than given to wealthy students as a perk.

“Too often students from lower income backgrounds are let down by employers offering opportunities that are unpaid and only available to family and friends.

“We would like to see good employers rewarded for doing the right thing by being allowed to offset paid internships against the Apprenticeship Levy.”
Since 2002 Career Ready has provided thousands of teenagers with internships in the offices and workplaces of its business supporters as part of a programme of employer engagement in schools. These internships, lasting four to six weeks, have proper job descriptions, real work to do and the students are paid.

The 140 Hours campaign is being supported by the Citi Foundation, which works to promote economic progress and improve the lives of people in low-income communities.

For more on the 140 Hours campaign and the charity’s work, visit


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