The government’s youth internship scheme is failing to attract participants and businesses at a staggering rate, despite a $2.5m advertising blitz, The Guardian reports.
Having promised 30,000 internships a year for young job seekers, documents provided to the Senate by the Department of Jobs and Small Business reveal only 4,785 internships were completed in the first 18 months of the $250m program.
The department also confirmed it had no employment target for the low-paying scheme – which unions argue equates to roughly $4 an hour for participants.
Businesses receive $1,000 for each intern they host, but the department revealed only 3,645 businesses have so far taken part, well short of the 18,000-20,000 it needs to attract to hit 30,000 interns a year.
The documents reveal 227 people had begun an internship as a fast-food cook and there were 214 internships for people working as housekeepers.
The low take-up from businesses was despite the government spending $2.52m advertising the scheme to prospective employers in the 2017-18 financial year.
It was also outlined that, in one case, a business has hosted 17 interns without offering a job to a participant. That business is one of seven that have been excluded from the program.
Overall, the department said 8,091 internship placements had been commenced between April 2017 and October 2018.
About 60% of those who completed an internship – or 2,918 people – were then employed by their host business, the department said.
The government has so far spent $12.7m on the internships, but the figure is projected to hit $288.6m over the forward estimates.