More than half of British firms have never used an intern, a YouGov survey has revealed.
Businesses in London are more likely to offer internships compared with more than 70% of businesses in the Midlands having never employed a paid intern, closely followed by the North (67%) and the East (61%).
Of those polled, 37% said they sourced some of their internship candidates “through friends and family”.
More than 80% of businesses with less than 50 employees admitted to having never offered an internship.
Campaigns manager for Intern Aware, Chris Hares, said internships being “dished out to friends and family” rather than the most able created a “new hurdle” for young people who lack money or connections.
The lack of opportunities available outside the capital was predicted to “add to the economic divide between the north and south of the country” by chief executive of the association of chartered certified accountants, Helen Brand OBE.
“Improving access to internships across the country is a vital part of addressing the geographical imbalance in out economy,’ she said.
“Cultivating a talented, motivated, ambitious workforce is a vital component of any good strategy for growth. If businesses located outside London want to compete with those based in the capital, offering paid internships to the next generation of local talent is key.”