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.
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